UK pay-television broadcaster BT Sport has today (February 8) announced a last-minute deal to exclusively cover the upcoming men’s cricket series between India and Australia, which begins in Nagpur, India tomorrow.
The tour, which comprises four test matches and three one-day internationals (ODIs), runs from February 9 to March 22, and every ball of the series will be shown on BT Sport, in both the UK and Ireland.
The pay-TV heavyweight – which holds rights to a number of other top-tier cricket properties – has secured the action through a deal with Star India, the global rights-holder for international cricket in India.
The overall agreement between Star and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was struck in 2018.
Rights to Indian cricket series’ are regularly sold at the last minute in the UK. In 2021, a similar 11th-hour deal for an India – England clash resulted in free-to-air network Channel 4 covering the action.
The 2023 Border-Gavaskar Trophy between India and Australia starts in Nagpur, before test matches later this month in Delhi, Dharamsala, and Ahmedabad, respectively.
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The three ODIs will then take place in Mumbai, Vizag, and Chennai.
Other international cricket rights held by BT Sport include tie-ups with governing bodies in the Caribbean, New Zealand, and Australia.
Pay-TV rival Sky is the main alternative option in terms of top-tier live coverage of the sport in the UK, holding the vast majority of rights to all international action from the English cricketing summer, and also having agreements in place covering the action from Pakistan and South Africa.
Both BT Sport and Sky are expected to also take an interest in UK rights for this year’s Indian Premier League franchise Twenty20 domestic competition, which has not yet been sold.
As mentioned above, Star (owned by Disney) will cover the India – Australia series domestically, while pay-TV subscription service Foxtel will show every ball Down Under.