Sky Sports saw a record breaking 2.1 million viewers tune in to Sunday’s third Ashes Test as Ben Stokes powered England to a one-wicket victory over Australia.
Stokes’ batting run, which saw the New Zealand born cricketer hit 135 not out to claim the win, drew in the biggest audience for a Test match on Sky whilst also attracting over 2 million viewers for the one-hour highlights package on Channel 5.
Despite this success, bosses at the broadcaster have ruled out the possibility of making any of the remaining two Test matches available on free-to-air television, according to the Telegraph.
A previous partnership between Sky and free-to-air broadcaster Channel 4, was successfully agreed earlier this year to share the coverage of the ICC Cricket World Cup final between England and New Zealand.
The final, which saw England claim a dramatic World Cup victory after a Super Over, saw audience figures dwarf that of the third Test, with 8.7 million in total tuning in to see England claim the gold – 3.5m of which were watching on Sky with 5.2m coming from free-to-air providers.
In fact, the viewing figures for the ICC World Cup final beat the 8.4m peak audience on day four of the 2005 Trent Bridge Test.
Sunday’s game also saw the BBC’s Test Match Special radio coverage attract over 1.2 million listeners online, with BBC Sport’s live text raking in 3.3 million browser views.
A further 3.7 million views on video highlights saw the public service broadcaster total an engagement reach 8.3 million across all their available platforms.