11 Nov

Amazon has picked up its first live cricket content and could now bid for the next Ashes series in Australia. 

Amazon secured a deal with New Zealand Cricket on Tuesday (10 November) to show their home matches live in India for the next four years. The deal includes India’s tour to New Zealand in 2022 and all men’s and women’s cricket until 2025-26. 

Industry insiders have long predicted the tech companies, Amazon, Google and Facebook, will start buying up cricket content mainly influenced by the huge Indian digital market. 

Cricket Australia’s (CA) four-year deal with BT Sport to show live Australian cricket in this country ends after this winter. BT Sport carried live coverage of England’s last Ashes tour in 2017-18. 

Informal talks have been held with broadcasters and CA over the next UK rights deal for Australian cricket that would include next winter’s Ashes tour. 

Sky will be keen to grab back the content and are favourites to land the deal they lost to BT to restore their domination of England cricket content. 

For CA, overseas markets are where they look to maximise income rather than be concerned about the size of the live audience and Amazon clearly have the financial clout to outbid their rivals. It will depend on how Amazon views cricket rights fitting into its business plan. Amazon already has access to live tennis, rugby union internationals and American football. 

An Ashes tour is a plumb sporting fixture and sources in Australia are expecting interest from one of the digital streaming platforms. 

Investing in a board’s overseas rights, such as showing Australian cricket live in Britain, is a cheaper way of buying into the sport than bidding for a board’s home broadcast deal. 

Tom Harrison, the ECB’s chief executive, travelled to the United States to meet with executives from digital platforms while negotiating the board’s last rights deal with Sky. He later said he was “absolutely certain” that “new distributors” will enter the cricket market within five years. Amazon have made that first step. 

John Stephenson 


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