BT Sport has secured live coverage of the 2017/18 Ashes series in Australia, putting an end to Sky Sports’ exclusive coverage of international cricket’s oldest rivalry.
The new deal between BT Sport and Australia’s cricket board means that all Australia’s home international matches will be shown in the UK on BT Sport only from 2016, including the Ashes series beginning in winter 2017.
Sky Sports still hold the rights to the 2019 Ashes series in England as part of their exclusive deal with the England and Wales Cricket Board, which means that viewers who want to watch both series will need access to both subscription services.
The deal covers all Australian Test and limited overs matches played in Australia, as well as live coverage of domestic Twenty 20 championship the Big Bash League.
“BT Sport is delighted to be adding international cricket to its line-up, and to be the new home of the next Ashes tour in Australia,” said BT Sport’s managing director Delia Bushell. “We will show live domestic games featuring the best players in the world during the Big Bash League and all Australian home matches for the next five years.”
It is the latest stage in the battle for sports broadcasting rights between BT and Sky. BT Sport won the rights to show Champions League and Europa League football starting this season, and signed Match of the Day’s Gary Lineker to present its coverage. Sky Sports meanwhile still hold the lion’s share of live Premier League football matches.
BT Sport were also interested in securing coverage of rugby union’s Six Nations, but a joint deal by the BBC and ITV ensured the tournament remained free to air.
Cricket Australia’s executive general manager of media Ben Amarfio said that BT put together a “highly compelling bid” in order to secure live Australian rights for the UK.