Pay-TV company Sky has agreed on a deal with commercial broadcaster Channel 4 to make Sunday’s ICC Cricket World Cup final between England and New Zealand will be free-to-air (FTA) in the UK.
The match at Lord’s Cricket Ground will be shown on Channel 4 and More 4, as well as on Sky Sports, which holds the UK broadcast rights to the tournament.
Channel 4 will carry Sky’s broadcast of the final from 9 am GMT, with the coverage switching to More 4 at 1.15pm when the broadcaster’s flagship channel begins its transmission of Formula One’s British Grand Prix. The cricket will then return to Channel 4 after the race.
The move marks the first time that live cricket has been available on FTA television in the UK since the 2005 Ashes, which was also broadcast by Channel 4. The finale of the five-game Test series between England and Australia saw 7.4m viewers tune in for Channel 4’s coverage, which at the time represented the broadcaster’s highest ever audience share at 23.2%.
“This is fantastic news for cricket fans and the nation,” said Channel 4 chief executive Alex Mahon. “This Sunday is a massive day for British sport with England tantalisingly close to lifting the Cricket World Cup for the first time and Lewis Hamilton setting his sights on his seventh win at Silverstone – all live on Channel 4.
“The big winners of the strong partnership between Channel 4 and Sky are sports fans and viewers who want to come together for these big sporting occasions.”
Sky confirmed earlier this week that it would make the Cricket World Cup final available for free in the UK if England reached the showpiece event for the first time since 1992.
The host nation progressed to the final on Thursday after beating arch-rivals Australia by eight wickets in their semi-final at Edgbaston, paving the way for Sky’s partnership with Channel 4 to be finalised.
Sky UK and Ireland chief executive Stephen van Rooyen added: “England in the final on home soil is a huge moment for sport in this country and we are proud to be the host broadcaster.
“Thanks to our strong relationship with Channel 4, we are partnering to make the game available to everyone, so the whole country can get behind England, and be part of a special national sporting event.”