BT Sport secures Ashes cricket rights

<p>The broadcaster has signed a deal for live rights to the 2017-18 Ashes cricket series.</p>

BT Sport has secured the live broadcasting rights for the 2017-18 Ashes cricket series in a reported £80 million deal.

As part of a five-year deal with Cricket Australia, the agreement gives BT the rights to show all of Australia's test matches, as well as one-day internationals, Twenty20 games and the women's Ashes.

In addition, BT Sport says it will show free-to-air daily highlights of international matches and from Australia's domestic Twenty20 tournament, the Big Bash League.

A "compelling bid"

Commenting on the deal, Delia Bushell, head of BT TV and BT Sport said she was "delighted" to be adding international cricket to the broadcasting line-up.

Ben Amarfio, executive general manager of Cricket Australia, said that BT Sport's reach into more than five million UK homes was a factor in the deal.

"BT Sport put forward a highly compelling bid for the rights to broadcast cricket from Australia to audiences throughout the United Kingdom," he explained.

Currently, Sky holds the rights to the 2019 Ashes series, which will take place in England. That means that cricket fans in the Uk will need access to both Sky Sports and BT Sport if they want to watch all of the tournaments between now and 2019. Sky also has the broadcasting rights to the cricket World Cup in 2019.

In 2012, Sky signed a deal with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), but the BBC reports they may face a challenge from BT Sport when the next contract comes up for grabs. The current agreement ends in 2019 and it's predicted that the next contract will be the most valuable deal in the ECB's history.

The new agreement will start in October 2016 and the first game to be aired will be Australia's home Test series against South Africa.

BT has been growing its sports portfolio, and now has the rights to all Uefa Champions League fixtures, as well as 38 Premier League games this season. For the 2016-17 season, this will increase to 42 Premier league matches, while Sky Sports will still show 126.

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