Channel 5 will continue to screen highlights of England’s home international matches until 2017 after renewing its agreement with the England and Wales Cricket Board.
The terrestrial broadcaster retains its early evening highlights of England’s home Test matches, one-day internationals and T20s, meaning viewers without access to Sky Sports will be able to catch up on all the day’s essential action shortly after the close of play.
Free-to-air highlights of the next two Ashes series in England will be shown on the channel in 2013 and 2015.
“Channel 5 has been associated with English cricket for over six years, providing new and established fans with the very best in cricket highlights from Test matches and more,” said Jeff Ford, Channel 5’s director of programming.
“We’re delighted to continue our association with the ECB for another four years and to firmly cement our position as the terrestrial home of English cricket.”
The announcement follows the news that Sky Sports will continue to broadcast exclusive live coverage of all England’s home international fixtures until 2017, with an option to extend the deal by an extra two years.
It is thought that there was little interest in the rights from other broadcasters, including the BBC who reported opted out from the start of the TV tender process due to the widespread cuts to its sports rights budget.
The ECB revealed via its Twitter account that they receieved no bids for live coverage from any of the terrestrial broadcasters.
Channel 5 took over the free-to-air rights for England’s home internationals in 2006 and its highlights programmes, scheduled at 7pm each night, regularly attract up to 1m viewers.
ECB chief executive David Collier said: “The ECB strongly values its relationship with Channel 5 and we welcome their ongoing commitment to cricket.
“Their evening highlights programme provides an excellent snapshot of the day’s play in each Test match and we are delighted that it will continue in an early evening slot which suits viewing patterns for families and younger viewers.”
Mark Nicholas, who previously fronted Channel 4’s critically acclaimed coverage, has presented all of Channel 5’s cricket output since 2006, along with fellow commentators Geoffrey Boycott and Simon Hughes.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan joined the commentary team in 2009 following his international retirement, with other guest contributors including Ian Bishop, Ian Chappell, Matthew Hayden and Richie Benaud.
Channel 5’s highlights programmes, produced by Sunset + Vine, were extended to one-hour in length last year, allowing the broadcaster to show an extra 15-minutes of action from each day’s play. Every show will be available to watch via the catch-up service Demand 5.