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 is currently showing highlights of the England Test and selected T20 internationals
  • It shows a handful of matches from The Hundred alongside Sky’s coverage
  • But reports suggest the country 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 English highlights and The Hundred.

The existing agreement expires next year and the ECB wants to maximize revenues from the sale of free-to-air television rights.

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

But The times reports that there are concerns within the BBC about whether viewing figures justify the cost of renewing the rights from 2025. The free-to-air package is believed to be worth around £15 million a year.

It came after Barbara Slater, the BBC’s outgoing sports director, warned that the corporation could lose the rights to show Six Nations rugby matches due to a 30 percent decline in revenues over the past decade and a rise in the cost of acquiring the rights.

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

The BBC will 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 at this year’s Ashes

The BBC’s viewing figures for The Hundred are quite good, but fewer people are watching England’s highlights, especially when they are shown late at night.

The Times said Channel 4, which previously showed live cricket from the England Test, is interested in increasing their cricket offering.

They showed England’s tour to India in 2021 after paying £7m 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 another deal could happen at the eleventh hour.

Channel 4 also showed England’s 2019 World Cup 50 final win over New Zealand and last year’s T20 World Cup final victory over Pakistan, after Sky shared the coverage.

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

It is believed the BBC’s Test Match Special radio commentary deal, which has been stalled until 2028, is not in jeopardy.

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

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