BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew has warned fans of Radio 4’s Test Match Special that the legendary show may soon be blocked to overseas listeners.
Speaking to Radio Times, Agnew says that when the rights to broadcast home cricket Test Matches are up for renewal in 2019 then the Engand and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) may insist on so-called geo-blocking.
This would mean the show would be available online only to those within the UK and not around the world, where is it listened to by millions of fans. Around 800,000 global cricket fans listen to Test Match Special each day.
Agnew said: “The administrators must realise that they must push reach as far as possible and if they do this [geo-blocking] it would be ridiculous, denying people all over the world, in Africa and Borneo, from enjoying Test Match Special.
“You have to be very careful. We all want the game to thrive and flourish and I understand it is important to make money out of the game but this would be dangerous.
“It would be short-sighted and I am sure the ECB is aware of the concerns.”
A Spokesman for the ECB declined to comment on Agnew’s fears directly but confirmed that geo-blocking is not included in the current broadcasting deal and that the rights would be renegotiated in 2019.
The spokesman added that the rights to overseas England games – which make up half the team’s matches – are negotiated by the cricket authorities in those countries and are not a matter for the ECB.