Amazon secures ICC rights in Australia

Australia’s World Cup broadcasting rights have been acquired by Amazon Prime Video. Two weeks after Pat Cummins’ squad won the World Cup in Ahmedabad on November 19, the International Cricket Council (ICC) sealed the contract with the streaming behemoth.

Under this deal, when Australia defends the World Cup in Southern Africa (South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Namibia) four years later in 2027, Australians will only be able to watch their country’s coverage digitally rather than through traditional linear channels. Amazon now has the exclusive right to broadcast not just the Men’s World Cup but also the Women’s World Cup, the Twenty20 World Cups, the Champions Trophy, the Under-19 World Cup (which starts in South Africa next month), and the one and only World Test Championship match (Final).

The first significant event of the rights package, scheduled for June 2024 in the Caribbean and the US, is the Twenty20 World Cup. The deal is valid for four years, until 2027. This development was initially reported on Monday morning by The Age.

Owing to Australia’s lengthy history of cricket broadcasting, a traditional sports television network such as Channel 9, Fox, or even Seven has not been able to secure the rights. Jointly, Fox and Seven own the rights to Cricket Australia.

Amazon Prime is not required to provide the matches to any national channels because there is no Australian law requiring broadcasters to share programming in the public interest with any free-to-air channels. For the public to see these international games, a subscription will be required.

The Age report noted that there is no provision for the game to be shown on free-to-air television. “The rights deal represents a major shift in the broadcasting landscape, as it is the most significant sports deal ever to go to a streaming service without an attached free-to-air partner,” the report stated. No ICC event has been scheduled in the nation for the current four-year rights cycle, therefore it appears that this condition solely applies to matches played in Australia and New Zealand. Australia and New Zealand will host the T20 World Cup in 2028, which will be the next ICC event held there.

With this agreement, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has sold the rights to its global games in all save Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan.

The agreement was verified later on Monday by Amazon Prime Video and the ICC. “The agreement comes after the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup was a huge success, shattering multiple records and culminating in Australia winning the trophy. The largest-ever Cricket World Cup broke attendance and broadcast viewing records, becoming the most social media-engaged event to date, and demonstrated that there is a greater demand than ever for World Cup cricket.

“The new partnership, which begins in January 2024, will give cricket fans across Australia exclusive access to all matches in every tournament of elite ICC competitions in all cricket formats, at no extra cost to a Prime membership,” the International Cricket Council said in a statement.

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