BBC 'could lose its cricket TV rights' to show England and The Hundred

BBC ‘could lose its cricket TV rights’ to show England and The Hundred with Channel 4 interested in striking a deal with the ECB… after the corporation admitted it may be unable to afford Six Nations rugby

  • BBC currently shows England Test highlights and selected T20 internationals
  • It screens a handful of matches from The Hundred alongside Sky’s coverage
  • But reports suggest it may not renew its deal with the ECB beyond 2025 

The BBC is reportedly at risk of losing its cricket television rights from 2025 as other broadcasters such as Channel 4 consider bids for England highlights and The Hundred.

The existing deal expires next year and the ECB is keen to maximise revenue from the sale of free-to-air television rights.

The BBC currently shows highlights of England’s home Test matches and white-ball fixtures, live coverage of selected T20 summer internationals, and a number of Hundred matches.

But The Times reports there are concerns within the BBC about whether the viewing figures justify the cost of renewing the rights from 2025. It is understood the free-to-air package is worth around £15m a year.

It came after Barbara Slater, the outgoing BBC director of sport, warned the corporation could lose the rights to show Six Nations rugby matches because of a 30 per cent decline in income over the past decade and an increase in the cost of acquiring the rights.

The BBC may lose its rights to screen highlights of England’s home Test matches from 2025

The BBC also show some matches from The Hundred but may not renew its deal with the ECB

The BBC’s Isa Guha (left), Michael Vaughan (centre) and Sir Alastair Cook (right) present their highlights show during this year’s Ashes 

BBC viewing figures for The Hundred have been pretty good but fewer people watch the England highlights, especially when screened late at night.

The Times said Channel 4, who previously screened England Test cricket live, are interested in boosting their cricket offering.

They showed England’s tour to India in 2021 after paying £7million at short notice to buy the rights from Star Sports, outbidding Sky Sports and BT Sport.

They could yet show England’s five-Test visit to India early next year with Sky and TNT Sport – formerly BT – also interested and a deal could again happen at the eleventh hour.

Channel 4 have also shown England’s 50-over World Cup final win over New Zealand in 2019 and last year’s T20 World Cup final win over Pakistan after Sky shared the coverage.

Sky’s £220m-a-year deal with the ECB to screen England’s home internationals and domestic cricket runs until 2028.

The BBC’s Test Match Special radio commentary deal, locked in until 2028, is not believed to be under threat.

The BBC currently shares rights to broadcast Six Nations matches with ITV until 2025

The BBC admits it faces a difficult decision over rights to show the tournament, with their coverage led by Gabby Logan

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