Cricket West Indies (CWI) president Ricky Skerritt announced a five year deal today with ESPN+ that will take West Indies cricket to ‘millions of households and viewers across the United States’ through the sports network’s streaming service.
The ESPN+ partnership, which starts with the all-format Sri Lanka cricket tour of the Caribbean in March, will feature live broadcast of every international West Indies home series covering all T20 Internationals, One-Day Internationals and Test matches within the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Future Tours Programme (FTP).
“This is CWI’s largest ever media rights agreement in the USA and is the first of several new multi-year agreements which we will confirm in the coming weeks,” Skerritt told the CWI media office. “Broadcast media rights income is crucial to the future financial sustainability of CWI, and this five-year rights agreement is just the start of good things to come.”
ESPN Digital Media Programming vice-president John Lasker said the addition of the West Indies events to its scheduling is a signal of its growing interest in the sport.
“Cricket West Indies is among the best in the world and their ICC schedule over the next few years is second to none,” said Lasker. “Cricket has always been a priority for us with ESPNcrincinfo leading the way as the premier destination for cricket coverage and news.
“Adding a strong slate of CWI events to ESPN+ is just the latest example of our commitment to cricket and serving fans with the best, most comprehensive cricket content in the US.”
The new ESPN+ agreement also includes CWI’s regional 50-over tournament, the CG Insurance Super50 Cup, which will be the first live cricket event from the West Indies in the partnership.
The Super50 Cup runs from 7 to 27 February at the Coolidge Cricket Ground and the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.
“ESPN is the sports channel for American households and sports fans and we’re delighted that West Indies cricket will now be enjoyed in the homes and on the devices of millions of Americans,” said CWI CEO Johnny Grave. “We have an ambitious strategic plan to grow our brand and content in North America, and ESPN is the perfect partner to help us achieve our goals.”
Easily the best news WI cricket fans have had since the T20 triple triumphs in 2016.
I said a couple years ago that Skerritt and Swallow need to be careful about introducing term limits. If they keep on going the way they are going, we might want to keep them for life…
I got questions…
When they say “…CWI’s largest ever media rights agreement…”
Is CWI paying for these broadcasts? Or has ESPN purchased the rights?
Who is producing the Super50 Cup and the regional 50 overs? Is ESPN footing the bill for this?
How is ESPN securing images from West Indies’ away matches? Does CWI own those rights? Is CWI trading those matches for the local/regional match production?
I hear your genuine concern although I do not share your disquiet. On the evidence we have so far, unlike Cameron before him, Skerritt’s first priority is NOT Skerritt.
And then there is this on the public record: “Broadcast media rights income is crucial to the future financial sustainability of CWI, and this five-year rights agreement is just the start of good things to come.”
I say suspend disbelief–at least for the moment.
I sincerely hope that a good part of the proceeds from this deal will be invested in improving our cricketing infrastructure and our cricket in general. Our cricket need this more than ever