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ECB extends TV contracts with Channel 4 and Sky Sports

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has today agreed a three-year extension to its current television contracts with Channel 4 and Sky Sports. The deal, which runs from 2003-2005, represents an increase of 57% over the final three years of the current four-year contract and is valued at close to £150m, which includes off-air as well as on-air marketing spend.

In international cricket, the agreement covers the Zimbabwe and South
African tour in 2003, the visit of New Zealand and the West Indies in 2004 and the series against Bangladesh and Australia in 2005. Channel 4 will continue to broadcast live coverage of six of the seven npower Test Matches with Sky Sports broadcasting live coverage of one npower Test Match and the entire NatWest Series of one-day internationals.

In domestic cricket, Sky Sports will continue its coverage of the Norwich Union League, Benson & Hedges Cup and CricInfo Championship, as well as England Under 19 and England Women's Internationals, while both Sky Sports and Channel 4 will broadcast selected Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy matches.

The new deal confirms the ECB's commitment to keeping a balance of cricket on terrestrial and satellite television. The TV contract will terminate simultaneously with the current BBC Radio contract.

Terry Blake, ECB Commercial Director, said, "This is a great day for
cricket. Channel 4 and Sky Sports have been excellent partners of ours
and I congratulate them both for their success in modernising the
broadcast of televised cricket.

"In particular this news is a big fillip for the grassroots development of
the game. The ECB currently spends 11% of its TV money on grassroots development - a figure already in excess of the 5%-10% figure the Government would like to see invested by sport governing bodies in the medium term. The increased revenue of the new deal will greatly enhance our future development activities."

David Brook, Director of Strategy & Development, Channel 4, said, "This
has been a very successful partnership. We are proud that the game has been re-energised and proud of the success that our innovations have brought to it. English cricket is back on the map and Test Match cricket goes from strength to strength. We look forward to repaying this
expression of confidence from the ECB by continuing to make further
investment in the sport, particularly in grassroots and the domestic game, to ensure that the next generation of cricketers come through."

Vic Wakeling, Managing Director, Sky Sports, said: "We have been covering cricket from home and abroad since we launched Sky Sports ten years ago, and we share the ECB's enthusiasm for the future of the game. England's improvement under Nasser Hussain and Duncan Fletcher is obvious to all, and we look forward to following them in the international arena - here> and around the world.

"The ten one-day internationals were the highlight of the summer for Sky Sports last year, and we are delighted to look forward to five more
summers and the same calibre of entertainment.

"In the same way, the Norwich Union League is working well for both Sky Sports and for the counties. The games we show are all played on a Saturday or Sunday, or as day-night games during the week. The majority of viewers are at home to see them and they are seeing good crowds and a good atmosphere - it is a huge success story.

"We will also continue to innovate, with more live interactive coverage
for our Sky digital viewers - a service that has proved very popular - and
more analysis tools such as this summer's Sky Scope system. It's a great sport to be involved in and we look forward to a healthy future."


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For further information, please call ECB Corporate Affairs on 020 7432
1200 Channel 4, Lysette Cohen: 020 7306 8686 Sky Sports, Claire Walker: 020 7705 3872

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