Pre-World Cup boost for Sunset+Vine as ICC contract extended to 2023
By Simon Ward
Sunset+Vine, the UK-based television sports production and media company, has retained its coveted host production contract for major International Cricket Council events for the next four years.
The award, which followed a highly competitive tender, has been made ahead of the 2019 Cricket World Cup, the premier one-day international competition, in England and Wales, for which Sunset+Vine is the production partner, under its existing four-year agreement.
The new deal covers 11 tournaments between now and 2023, but does not include the 2021 T20 World Cup nor the 2023 Cricket World Cup, both of which will be held in India.
Sunset+Vine’s agreement does take in men’s and women’s T20 World Cups in 2020, the Under-19 Cricket World Cup in 2020, the Women's Cricket World Cup in 2021 and the inaugural World Test Championship culminating in 2021, as well as qualifiers for these tournaments.
The host nations for the events include Australia, England and Wales, South Africa, New Zealand, the West Indies, Zimbabwe and the United Arab Emirates.
Sunset+Vine will continue to provide all live event production services and produce daily highlights packages from the tournaments for the ICC TV venture. Huw Bevan, the production firm's head of cricket, will act as executive producer, supported by Gavin Scovell, as lead director, and Joanne Lowndes Lumb, as head of production.
The ICC launched the tender for production services and outside broadcast equipment services providers for the next cycle in February of this year.
Sunset+Vine is understood to have faced competition from, among others, two companies well-versed in cricket in IMG, the international sports agency, and Star India, the ICC’s global broadcast partner (to 2023), for the new host production contract, but the governing body was happy with the partnership to date, and saw value in continuity.
Star has the consolation of being able to produce the two major ICC events in India in 2021 and 2023.
Singapore-based NEP Broadcast Solutions (formerly Broadcast Solutions) is the ICC's incumbent equipment services provider.
Sunset+Vine does itself have a long heritage in cricket, and has been working with the ICC on its major events since 2016, the point at which the governing body took its live production in-house, and launched ICC TV.
The UK production company is also producing Channel 4’s highlights coverage of this year’s World Cup, rekindling a much-remembered relationship with the domestic commercial broadcaster covering live cricket in England, which ran from 1999 to 2005.
Sunset+Vine continues to produce rival UK network Channel 5’s free-to-air highlights coverage of England home matches, in a deal expiring this year, has content partnerships with the England and Wales Cricket Board and Lord's Cricket Ground, and is the host broadcaster of the Caribbean Premier League Twenty20 competition through to 2020.
Its other retained clients include UK broadcasters BT Sport (for soccer, rugby union and cricket), Premier Sports (for rugby union's Pro14) and the BBC (for the World Professional Indoor Bowls Championships), plus Amazon (for its forthcoming live coverage of the Premier League in the UK), Red Bull Media House (for the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup), Badminton England, and rowing's Henley Royal Regatta.
Sunset+Vine is a likely contender for the production contract the BBC is expected to put out to tender later this year for its live coverage and highlights of The Hundred, the new English short-format cricket competition, and England home matches, from 2020 to 2024.
Welcoming the extended international cricket deal, Jeff Foulser, the chairman of company, said: “Over the last four years the ICC and Sunset+Vine have been together on a journey to set the bar in cricket broadcasting and to deliver a truly world-class product for broadcasters and cricket fans. ICC TV was successfully established – a ground breaking model for how a governing body and production company can collaborate.
“The partnership has allowed us to be more ambitious, more adventurous and more creative. This approach will see new viewers converted to this magnificent sport through engaging and dynamic coverage. We are truly excited by the opportunity.”
Aarti Dabas, head of media rights, broadcast and digital at the ICC, added: “When we decided to take ICC’s live production in-house for the first time, four years ago, we partnered with Sunset+Vine to help ensure that we could maintain world class production values and continue to deliver innovative and engaging content to our broadcasters, media rights partners and fans around the world. The increased engagement with the Live coverage and other content are a testament to our partnership.
“The next four year cycle of ICC events provides a challenge to us all to continue innovate the way we present cricket to a growing global audience, giving cricket’s one billion plus fans an engaging and entertaining product. Sunset+Vine have shown that they are up to the task and we look forward to continuing to work with the team.”
The 2019 Cricket World Cup comprises 10 teams and 48 matches and runs from 30 May to 14 July. Sunset+Vine and NEP Broadcast Solutions are ensuring that every match will be covered by a minimum of 32 cameras, including eight ultra-motion Hawk-Eye cameras, front and reverse stump cameras and a Spidercam on a line over the ground.
The 25 international media rights partners include Star and UK pay-television operator Sky, which will be showing every match live under its deal running to 2023.