Rights to England’s five-Test tour series against India are still yet to be sold, three weeks before the first match.
A familiar situation is shaping up again in the world of Test cricket, as TV rights in the UK are yet to be sold despite the first match against India starting in three weeks (25 January).
England will be under the leadership of Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum, a team selection that shows an attempt to raise the profile and entertainment value of the series.
Cricket fans will remember that a similar situation happened in 2021, when Channel 4’s late bid was accepted, bringing test cricket back to the free-to-air terrestrial broadcaster for the first time since 2005.
However, PA Media has reported that Channel 4 has no interest in buying the rights again this year.
It is believed that the broadcaster’s motivation for purchasing the rights in 2021 was driven by wanting to serve a captive audience eager for live sport after the COVID-19 lockdowns. Resources are also being used to plan its broadcasting of the Paralympics that start later this year.
Talk|SPORT currently holds the radio rights for England’s Test tour of India, which may be the only way England cricket fans can follow the series if no buyer is found.
The games definitely don’t take up primetime slots as they are set to start at 4am and end before midday.
At the moment TNT Sports, and Sky Sports are the possible outlets to obtain the rights with Sky Sports being the favourite for a late bid. Sky was the home of all England tours between 1990 & 2017, whilst also broadcasting the last ICC T20 World Cup.
TNT Sports recently provided exclusive coverage of England women’s tour of India last December. However, the broadcaster has shown no interest in purchasing the rights for the men’s tour.