BSkyB Bowls-Out C4 Over Cricket Broadcast Rights

17 December 2004

Cricket, said the late Lord Mancroft, is "a game which the English, not being a spiritual people, have invented in order to give themselves some conception of eternity".

While many Britons would agree with this definition, a passionate minority emphatically do not. Not least the hardnosed honchos at NewsCorp-controlled UK satellite broadcaster BSkyB.

Once the inviolable preserve of the patrician BBC, televised cricket has recently been hijacked by the commercial TV ruffians.

The latest insult added to injury is the 'yorker' bowled by James Murdoch, which sees the Sky eleven snatching from Channel 4 the exclusive rights to live televised cricket in a deal worth up to £220 million ($426.25m; €320.8m) over four years.

The Five channel has won the primetime evening highlights package for 'Test' (five-day international) matches and the BBC gets exclusive rights for radio coverage of Tests and one-day internationals. Channel Four, however, scored an embarrassing 'duck'.

Says England & Wales Cricket Board chairman David Morgan: "We understand that the decision to place all live cricket coverage on satellite and cable television is an emotive issue for some people. We have made an agreement that will offer the highlights package to a peaktime audience."

Oh, well hit, chaps!

Data sourced from BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff