The England & Wales Cricket Board will take greater control of its cricket broadcast content in its next television deal following the approval of plans to introduce a new Twenty20 tournament.
The ECB intends to produce its own cricket coverage for the new Twenty20 competition in a radical departure for the sport which has always relied on host broadcasters such as Sky to provide the expertise and production of its programmes.
But in a move similar to the way the Indian board produces its own TV content, the ECB intends to have total say over how the new tournament is shown.
Negotiations for the new television deal will dominate the early part of the summer. The ECB will formally begin the tender process on May 10, after its annual meeting, and intends to announce a new deal in August on a contract covering 2020 to 2024 and worth around £1.2 billion.
BT Sport and Sky are set for a bidding war but will have to forge a partnership with a terrestrial broadcaster too, with the ECB wanting its new competition to reach a larger audience by showing at least eight games on free-to-air television.
In the past Sky has demanded exclusivity but the ECB wants its new competition to have a wider reach through free-to-air television and digital coverage on social media. It will split its broadcast rights into four packages, covering international cricket as well as the two domestic Twenty20 tournaments.
The final hurdle was cleared on Wednesday when the ECB announced it had received almost total backing for its Twenty20 plans. The 41 members of the ECB, which includes the non-first-class counties as well as 18 county teams and MCC, had been asked to vote on a change to the board’s articles of association that will allow it to introduce the new competition.
The ECB received 38 votes in favour with only Middlesex and Essex voting against and Kent abstaining.
Surrey have been long standing opponents of the move but voted in favour as the club looks to position the Oval as a venue for one of the new teams.