TalkSport secures broadcasting rights for England’s tours of India, leaving BBC out once again.

TalkSport has gained the radio rights for the England men’s tour of India in the upcoming year. Unfortunately, BBC’s Test Match Special has once again been beaten by its commercial competitor.

Both broadcasters were reportedly bidding for exclusive rights to cover England tours of India, including men’s and women’s cricket, for the next four years. On Wednesday, TalkSport was informed that their bid had won the rights.

However, the deal seems to have been agreed upon too late for the women’s Test match in Mumbai, which started on Thursday. TalkSport is currently exploring options to cover the remainder of the match, but it seems unlikely as the Twenty20 leg of the tour has already finished and there is already a team covering England’s men’s team in the Caribbean.

The television rights for the five-Test men’s series in India, starting on January 25th, have yet to be sold. TNT Sports (formerly BT Sport) is potentially the favorite, considering Sky’s recent step back from overseas tours. In the previous men’s Test series in India in 2021, the matches were eventually shown on Channel 4 after Sky and BT withdrew.

TalkSport is competing to become the radio broadcaster for England internationals and has now added this four-year deal for India to its current list of overseas territories, which already includes the Caribbean and New Zealand. Test Match Special still holds the rights to the next men’s Ashes series in Australia, as well as ICC tournaments and home internationals until 2028.

Whether the BBC will continue as the secondary television partner to Sky for the home summer remains uncertain. There are suggestions that the BBC’s interest in the Hundred may be diminishing. While Sky has already extended their contract until the end of 2028, the BBC’s deal with the England and Wales Cricket Board is set to expire after one more year. The current deal includes evening highlights for Test cricket and digital clips on the BBC website.

This situation may pose a challenge for the ECB, as the BBC’s widespread reach, including promotion across multiple channels, stations, and platforms, is considered crucial for the success of the Hundred. Other free-to-air broadcasters are expected to enter the conversation, but the outcome may be the BBC’s retention at a reduced cost.

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