Australian media firm Nine Entertainment, which operates the Stan Sport streaming service, has secured the Australian free-to-air (FTA) rights to broadcast the 2027 and 2031 editions of the Ashes, the iconic cricket series between England and Australia.
Reports have stated that the FTA broadcaster is set to pay the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) AU$40 million (US$26 million) for the next two editions of the historic series which will take place in England.
This figure is less than the AU$50 million that the ECB had wished to achieve for the rights, but given that reports have stated that fellow FTA network Seven withdrew from the bidding process, Nine's offer may well have been the only serious option left standing. Seven does, however, hold rights to broadcast home Ashes – and all other home series – to an Australian audience until 2031 alongside pay-TV service Foxtel.
Nine’s Australian broadcast will be a simulcast with Foxtel, which holds the rights to both home (with Seven) and away Ashes tests in Australia until 2031.
The deal is the joint furthest-sighted agreement signed around the series in either country by the ECB, alongside the Foxtel arrangement.
Australian law requires the Ashes, an event of cultural significance, to be offered to FTA broadcasters before subscription services like Foxtel, hence why the free services are able to capture the rights.
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The competition, contested biennially between the English and Australian cricket teams, rotates hosting duties between the two every edition, meaning the domestic and international rights sold by Cricket Australia and the ECB are bundled separately.
The ECB’s current domestic coverage deal for home internationals, with pay-TV giant Sky expires in 2028, with the latest extension having been signed in July 2022.