Big Bash League games to be telecast in the USA and Canada
Cricket, as a sport, is gaining momentum even in countries where the sport is not played on a regular basis.
Cricket Australia has recently signed a contract with two American media corporations which means that their domestic Big Bash League will henceforth reach a wider international audience. Signing a new broadcast partnership with NBC Sports Network in both the USA and Canada stipulates that the NBC network now holds the rights to telecast 10 KFC BBL matches which include seven matches with replays and the three final matches to be screened on delay. With NBC having one of the widest reaches in a typical American cable connection, this partnership ensures that the BBL will have an outreach of more than 85 million households in the US.
These matches, apart from being available on television, will also be available for live streaming on the NBCSN app.
"It is the first time Australian cricket will be available to such a broad mainstream audience and we think that not only will the 10 million-plus sub-continent, Caribbean, UK, South Africa and Australasia diaspora throughout the US be excited about cricket being so easily accessible, but Americans, in general, will also embrace the Big Bash League,” Ben Amarfio, the CA Executive General Manager of Media, Communications & Marketing, said. He described the contract as a kind of breakthrough for Australian domestic cricket adding that the growth of the sport in recent years has been nothing short of phenomenal. “We’re very excited to extend the reach of the Big Bash League into the US and Canada markets and look forward to connecting with fans whether it be via broadcast, online or on via mobile devices,” he added.
Cricket Australia's longstanding media partner in the US, Willow, has also seen a renewal of its contract with the international cricket board. Currently, Willow holds the rights to most of Australian cricket including Tests and limited-over formats for both men and women as well as the BBL and the Women's BBL. This particular arrangement has seen a 5-year renewal of all rights to broadcast the sport in addition to a special arrangement with NBC. The plus side of having NBC as a network partner is that its reach is deeper than that of Willow.
The market of Australian Cricket in Canada has received a similar boost after a 5-year deal between CA and Asian Television Network (ATN) was struck. The contract makes ATN hold exclusive rights to most of the international and domestic Australian Cricket matches.
Amarfio stressed the importance of Canada and the US as important markets in the global surge of cricket as a major sport. He further added that the intense competition between American and Canadian media houses to secure a deal with CA is further testament to the fact that cricket is a growing phenomenon in both these countries.
"We’re particularly pleased that all of our women's international and WBBL content will also receive exposure on a global scale through all of the recent renewals we have done in the UK, South Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa (excluding Northern Africa and RSA), Caribbean, USA and Canada,” he said.