BBC to broadcast live TV coverage of English international and domestic cricket
English international and domestic cricket will be shown live on BBC TV for the first time in 21 years from 2020.
In a five-year deal with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), more than 100 hours of cricket will be broadcast each summer.
The contract includes live TV coverage of England men and women's Twenty20 internationals and the ECB's new men's domestic T20 tournament.
TV highlights of England men's home Tests, one-day internationals and T20s will also be shown.
The BBC, which this year celebrates Test Match Special's 60th birthday, also retained radio rights and digital clips for English cricket.
Digital clips mean in-play video action clips and short-form highlights on the BBC Sport website and app for all England internationals and domestic games.
The BBC last broadcast live televised cricket in 1999 and the sport has not been available on free-to-air TV since the 2005 Ashes series, shown on Channel 4.
"It's long been our ambition to bring live cricket back to BBC television," said BBC director general Tony Hall. "I'm thrilled to see that ambition realised.
"Cricket is an integral part of the British summer and the BBC will be putting its full weight behind the nation's favourite summer sport.
"Our aim will be to make the new T20 competition a huge success."
Each summer from 2020 to 2024, the BBC will broadcast live TV coverage of:
- Two England men's home T20s
- One England women's home T20s
- 10 men's matches from the ECB's new domestic city-based T20 competition
- Up to eight matches from the women's domestic T20 tournament, including both finals
The BBC will also show:
- Highlights of England men's home Tests, ODIs and T20s
- Highlights of England women's home internationals
- Digital clips of men and women's internationals, plus County Championship, One-Day Cup and T20 matches
Barbara Slater, director of BBC Sport, said: "This will lead to a step change in the BBC's coverage of cricket across TV, radio and digital platforms.
"We are extremely excited about what we have to offer by taking cricket to the widest possible audience and inspiring the next generation to pick up bat and ball.
"With 97% of the UK population using the BBC every week, the potential for growing the game further is huge."
BBC goes to 'another level'
The ECB's deal with the BBC and Sky is worth £1.1bn.
Sky will broadcast live TV coverage of Tests, England men's and women's internationals, plus the One-Day Cup and the County Championship.
ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said: "Together, these new deals will deliver the partnership, distribution and investment that will fuel the future of our game, driving recreational, professional and international cricket for years to come.
"BBC are valuable long-term partners, bringing cricket to listeners, viewers and a new digital audience.
"We are delighted they will go to another level with live coverage of international and domestic T20 - men's and women's - alongside prime-time highlights shows and a commitment to taking the game to even wider audiences."
'Cricket needs to be on free-to-air TV' - analysis
BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew on Radio 5 live
The ECB has recognised the need to show free-to-air cricket - the game urgently needs it.
When Channel 4 lost the rights in 2005, there is no doubt participation levels and awareness of the game slumped dramatically.
That, and the fact it has a new tournament starting in 2020, is what prompted the ECB to bring this deal forward.
The new tournament needs this coverage and exposure - this is why the ECB was keen to get it on terrestrial television.
This deal has raised over a billion pounds, which is a huge amount for English cricket.
Importantly, the BBC will show highlights of all England home internationals at prime time, which is a significant change from the usual late-night schedule.
'Players will be able to pay their mortgages'
Former England bowler Ryan Sidebottom called the deal "fantastic" news.
Speaking on the 5 live Friday Sports Panel, Sidebottom said: "I think it's much-needed. After the 2005 Ashes, the intake of children taking up cricket has slowly gone downhill so I think it's amazing for cricket.
"It's great for the players, it's great for international cricket, the fans. It's great for county cricket that players will get to showcase their talents on free-to-air TV, which is fantastic.
"It is difficult in modern society with mortgages and the cost of living.
"I grew up watching Test matches and one-day games on television - hopefully it'll grow more and more popular with the younger generation watching it on television."
|Cricket on BBC TV from 2020-2024|
|England men's home Tests||Highlights|
|England men's Twenty20s||Two games broadcast live|
|England men's ODIs||Highlights|
|England women's T20s||One game broadcast live|
|New men's domestic T20 competition||10 games broadcast live, including final|
|Women's domestic T20 competition||Eight games broadcast live, including final|