In a surprising turn of events, Channel 5 is set to make history by broadcasting the World Cup final live. This will be their first-ever live cricket broadcast, and fans are buzzing with excitement. Throughout the tournament, Channel 5 has been treating viewers to daily highlights of the matches in India. Now, they have secured an agreement with Sky Sports, the main rights holder, to share live coverage of the final on Sunday, November 19.
Sky Sports holds exclusive rights to all ICC events until 2031, but they have graciously agreed to sub-license the final to Channel 5. This unexpected move mirrors a similar arrangement made with Channel 4 in 2019 when England triumphed in the World Cup. However, that deal was only finalized at the last minute after negotiations following England’s qualification for the final. In contrast, this agreement was made as part of the highlights package before the tournament even began.
Although England’s performance in defending their title has been disappointing, Channel 5 remains optimistic about attracting a good audience for the final. Their hopes are particularly high if India makes it to the ultimate showdown. It’s worth noting that Sky Sports was not obligated to provide the final on a free-to-air basis, but they willingly did so as part of their commitment to growing the sport.
While Channel 5 has not previously televised live cricket, they did hold the rights for England men’s home Test matches from 2006 to 2019. This exciting development marks a new chapter for the channel and cricket fans across the country. As for Sky Sports, they have chosen to remain tight-lipped about the matter.