Channel 4 lines up highlights rights to 'home' Cricket World Cup
Channel 4, the UK commercial broadcaster, is close to landing highlights rights to this year's ICC Cricket World Cup, to be hosted by England and Wales, according to reports.
Exclusive live television rights to the tournament are held by Sky, the pay-TV broadcaster, as part of a deal with the International Cricket Council that runs to 2023, while public-service broadcaster the BBC will offer in-game clips online.
The nightly highlights package is heading to Channel 4, the UK's Daily Mirror newspaper has reported.
Channel 4 was the last network to show live free-to-air coverage of cricket played in the UK, signing off with the England national team's famous 2005 ‘Ashes’ series victory against Australia, although rival Channel 5 has broadcast highlights every summer since.
More than 8.4 million viewers tuned in to Channel 4 to see England win the fourth test in Nottingham in 2005.
Sky Sports will show all 48 games from the World Cup, which runs from 30 May to 14 July, and is the first to be held on UK soil since 1999.
The BBC website will offer video clips of up to six minutes per hour per day, and also provide end-of-day round-ups.
The BBC did offer highlights of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy, the one-day international competition that took place in England and Wales, with commercial broadcaster ITV having aired highlights of the 2015 Cricket World Cup.
Live cricket will return to the BBC in 2020, with 10 matches from a new domestic short-format competition, known as 'The Hundred', and two live England Twenty20 games each year, plus a selection of women’s Twenty20 fixtures, to be shown annually as part of a five-year deal with the England and Wales Cricket Board.
Meanwhile, the ECB's non-executive directors have recommended an extension to Colin Graves’ term as chairman, from May 2020 to November 2020.
The directors said the stay will enable Graves to "oversee the first season of The Hundred, which forms a key component of the new game-wide five-year strategic plan, Inspiring Generations."
This recommendation will be put to the ECB membership for consideration at the annual general meeting on 7 May.
The process of appointing Graves' successor will begin in September and be managed by the ECB nominations committee.
Lord Patel, ECB senior independent director, said: “2020 promises to be an exciting year for cricket in England and Wales. Given that Colin Graves has played a key role in overseeing the development of The Hundred, the non-executive directors believe it is important to retain his services over the course of the 2020 domestic season.
“This will also provide the opportunity for the chair elect to be able to shadow Colin Graves for a six-month period, over the course of a season, which will help ensure there is a smooth succession.”
Graves, the former deputy chairman of the ECB and chairman of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, has been in the role since 2015.