The ECB and Sky Sports have extended their broadcast partnership by a further four years, until the end of 2028.
The new deal, which is set to begin in 2025, includes a commitment to 90 extra hours of cricket each year, and guarantees that the Hundred – the new competition that was a major factor in the last rights cycle for 2020-24 – will continue for at least another five seasons.
That hike in live coverage includes a commitment to a 50 percent increase in the number of Vitality Blast fixtures being broadcast, including one game per round being shown free-to-air on Sky Sports’ YouTube channel.
The exact details of the new deal’s free-to-air provisions will be confirmed at a later date – the BBC’s current agreement extends until the end of 2024 – although at least two women’s T20 internationals each year will be broadcast on terrestrial TV, as well as eight women’s Hundred matches – an increase of two from the current deal.
Sky have also pledged to continue supporting grassroots cricket through the ECB’s Dynamos Cricket programme.
Clare Connor, the ECB’s interim chief executive, said: “Sky have been fantastic partners for cricket for over 30 years. Their broadcast coverage is rightly lauded as the best in the world, but more significantly than that we have a shared commitment to growing the sport and investing in more opportunities, not only for people to watch and follow cricket in all its forms, but also to pick up a bat and ball.
“Thanks to Sky and the support of other partners, we saw a record 14 million people playing, attending or following cricket in 2021. This year alone, 10,000 children will get the chance to have a free taste of cricket through Sky Dynamos Intros, while many, many more will benefit from facilities and opportunities to play which are only possible because of Sky’s investment. It shows this media rights model is working, and we are very grateful for Sky’s ongoing support.
“We have worked closely with the wider game and our First-Class Counties to agree this new deal with Sky, which will see not only more live women’s and men’s cricket on Sky, but also more on free to air TV as well. I would like to place on record our thanks to the First Class County Chairs, to all of the Sky teams involved and to ECB colleagues including Tony Singh and Tom Harrison, who have played the central role in delivering this outstanding result for cricket.
“Our shared values and vision with Sky will make cricket accessible to even more people over the coming years and will use the power of sport to inspire the next generation, while safeguarding the wonderful traditions which are such a key part of our game.”
Stephen van Rooyen, Sky Sports’ EVP and CEO UK and Europe, added: “This is an exciting time for English cricket and we’re thrilled to be furthering our long and successful partnership with the ECB. Together we will continue to help grow the game while boosting participation in the sport by children from all backgrounds through initiatives like our Dynamos Cricket Intros.
“On screen, we will continue to push boundaries in our BAFTA-winning coverage, bringing Sky Sports viewers even more live action from 2025 – including more women’s cricket than ever before – with men’s and women’s England internationals and domestic cricket. Sky’s investment over the last 30 years has contributed to a great deal of success on the pitch, and we hope to be at the forefront of much more to come.”