BSkyB, Five score cricket coverage

Deal with ECB gives satcaster rights through 2013

LONDON -- BSkyB and RTL-owned Five have secured continued coverage of English Test Match cricket games under an agreement thought to be valued at 300 million pounds ($586.3 million).

The agreement, with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), will give the satcaster live rights to all matches for 2010-13, while terrestrial net Five will air a nightly highlights package.

The new deal means that the U.K.'s biggest broadcasters have lost out on the chance to cover the national cricket team's biggest matches, with whole matches only available on pay TV.

But the ECB stressed that it has offered a range of smaller packages in the hopes of attracting a wider range of broadcast bids.

"Some television broadcasters indicated that they did not have the scheduling capacity to bid for all the matches which were on offer, (so) the tender process was therefore deliberately crafted in a nondiscriminatory way to allow as many broadcasters as possible to compete for the rights," ECB chairman Giles Clarke said.
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