Lyle to lead BBC's cricket coverage as Andrews takes Channel 4 sport reins
By Jonathan Rest
Stephen Lyle, the head of sport at Channel 4, the UK commercial broadcaster, has returned to the BBC to lead the public-service broadcaster's cricket coverage, Sportcal has learned.
Lyle (pictured), who left the BBC in 2015 to join Channel 4, is now the corporation's lead executive for TV cricket and iPlayer commissioning.
He has been replaced as head of sport at Channel 4 by Pete Andrews, who joins from the BBC after 14 years, most recently as a senior producer of BBC Sport.
Andrews, who officially takes on his new role in March, will lead on all of Channel 4’s sports coverage, which includes the 2020 Summer Paralympic Games in Tokyo and its coverage of the 2019 Formula 1 season, in which it will show the British Grand Prix live and highlights of the other 20 races.
At the BBC, Andrews covered six Olympic Games and nine international soccer tournaments. He also directed broadcasts of four Wimbledon tennis finals, was the BBC’s lead producer of its FA Cup coverage from 2014 to 2018 and was the lead director of its winter Olympics broadcast from both Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018.
Andrews said: “Channel 4 has had a huge impact on sports production in the UK and I’m thrilled to be joining a broadcaster that’s renowned for its innovation and ambition,” he said.
He will report into Channel 4’s head of entertainment, events and live, Ed Havard who said: “Pete has an extraordinary track record of producing world class coverage of some of the biggest global sporting events. He is also one of the most popular and respected figures in sports broadcasting and we’re hugely looking forward to him joining Channel 4.”
Lyle joined Channel 4 as commissioning editor for sport in 2015, having been series editor of the BBC Match of the Day 2 programme and programme editor on Match of the Day. He was promoted to the head of sport role last April.
He rejoins the BBC as the organisation readies itself for a return to live TV cricket next year.
In June 2017, the BBC acquired a package of rights from the England and Wales Cricket Board that includes 10 matches per year from a new domestic short-format competition, known as 'The Hundred', and two live England Twenty20 games each year, plus a selection of women’s Twenty20 fixtures. The five-year deal begins in 2020.
The BBC also landed highlights of England’s home games and will offer internet clips of all matches it does not have live rights to, while also continuing its respected live radio coverage via the Test Match Special programme.
There has been no live TV coverage of English cricket in the UK since the famous Ashes series between England and Australia in 2005, which was shown by Channel 4, although Channel 5 has been broadcasting highlights every summer.
The BBC has not shown live cricket since 1999, but provided highlights of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy broadcast in full on Sky.
Sky will remain the major broadcaster of English cricket, showing live coverage of all England home matches and domestic games under the joint five-year £1.1-billion ($1.28 billion) with the ECB.