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BT Sport signs Australia cricket deal to broadcast England's Ashes defence

Tuesday, Aug 25, 2015

BT has snatched the rights to show the next Ashes series in a reported £80 million five-year deal to screen Australian cricket.

It is the latest episode in the battle between BT and broadcaster Sky, which has already seen the telecoms giant muscle in on Sky's dominance of Premier League football as well as swallowing up Champions League rights from this season.

The announcement comes a day after England's cricketers lost the final Test of this year's home Ashes series to Australia at the Oval, but were still celebrating a 3-2 victory overall to reclaim the urn.

BT Sport is to show all Australian home cricket internationals live in the UK under the new five-year deal from 2016 to 2021, meaning it will broadcast England's defence of the Ashes in 2017/18. The price was not disclosed.

The deal includes all Australian Test matches, One Day Internationals and T20 Internationals played in Australia - including the Ashes as well as series against New Zealand, South Africa, India and Pakistan.

It also gives BT the rights to Australia's Big Bash League as well as the women's Ashes and women's T20 Big Bash League - plus as a free-to-air rights package including daily highlights of international matches.

Delia Bushell, managing director of BT TV and BT Sport, said: "BT Sport is delighted to be adding international cricket to its line-up, and to be the new home of the next Ashes tour in Australia."

Ben Amarfio, Cricket Australia executive general manager of media, communications and marketing, said: "BT Sport put forward a highly compelling bid for the rights to broadcast cricket from Australia to audiences throughout the United Kingdom.

"They are uniquely placed to become one of the UK's largest sports channels and we think cricket can provide the content and opportunities to help them do just that."

BT already screens 38 Premier League games a season and has just started exclusively showing Champions League and Europa League games after signing an £897 million three-year deal.

It is to extend its Premier League output from 2016/17 after a £960 million three-year deal signed earlier this year to show 42 games a season, though Sky will still screen the lion's share of televised English top-flight games.

Sky Sports customers who want to follow all top live sports now face a premium of about £20 a month to add on BT services so the satellite broadcaster could face calls to cut its own prices, according to one expert.

Ewan Taylor Gibson, broadband and TV expert at uSwitch, said: "BT have got the football rights and Champions League rights but there is still a lot of space for BT Sport and they need to fill it.

"Ultimately, in the short term, it leaves consumers frustrated and generally out of pocket because they are having to pay for two services rather than one.

"The pressure from consumers will be 'I'm paying the same as I paid before and they've lost lots of stuff, so why am I still paying that?"'

 

chroniclelive.co.uk

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