English cricket’s partnership with broadcaster Sky has been extended by four years to 2028, with commitments to greater exposure for the county and women’s games, as well as a small increase in free-to-air action.
Sky have committed to showing 90 extra hours of cricket each year, including 50 per cent more live Vitality Blast games and more women’s cricket than ever before. The increase in free-to-view coverage is mainly in the women’s game, with a commitment to two free women’s T20is and eight women’s Hundred matches (up from two in this rights cycle).
There will also be a weekly Vitality Blast highlights show broadcast on FTA TV, as well as one game per round broadcast free on Sky’s YouTube channel.
The BBC currently have free-to-air rights until the end of the 2024 season. Arrangements beyond that date have not yet been made.
Sky have also pledged to continue supporting grassroots cricket through the ECB’s Dynamos Cricket programme for children.
England face India in the Second ODI at Lord’s this afternoon, exactly three years on from their World Cup final win. After a 10-wicket humbling at the Kia Oval on Tuesday, England appeared set to name an unchanged team.
It seems likely that a group of players will be released for Saturday’s Vitality Blast Finals Day at Edgbaston. Lancashire’s Phil Salt, Yorkshire’s Harry Brook and David Willey and Somerset’s Craig Overton seem certain to be released.