Cricket returns to free-to-air TV in the U.K. after 16 years

U.K.'s Channel 4 has secured the broadcasting rights for the India-England Test series.

England will play four Tests against India. - GETTY IMAGES

Channel 4 has secured the telecast rights of England’s high-profile Test series against India after having struck a deal with Indian broadcaster Star Sports. This will be the first time Test cricket returns to terrestrial television in the U.K. since the 2005 Ashes.

“Channel 4 will show exclusive free-to-air live television coverage of England’s Test series against India,” the channel said in a statement. “This will be the first time live Test cricket has been on free to air television since Channel 4 showed England’s momentous Ashes win in 2005.”

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It said ball-by-ball coverage of all four Tests will be shown live on Channel 4 and All 4.

“And for viewers who can’t manage the early 4am start, highlights will be available on All 4.”

'Delighted'

Channel 4’s Head of Sport Pete Andrews and Penny Mills, Head of Sports Rights, led the broadcaster’s negotiations to secure the deal. “We’re delighted to be showing live Test cricket on Channel 4 again and given the recent performances of both sides this series is set to be a cracker. We’re thrilled to have struck this deal with Star Sports,” said Andrews.

Channel 4’s Chief Content Officer Ian Katz said it was fantastic news for all cricket fans in the U.K.

“It’s been a long 16-year wait for the return of live Test cricket to free-to-air television but it couldn’t have come at a better time. What better antidote to the lockdown blues than an England Test series in sunny India.”