India vs England Ist Test – No Broadcaster in UK as yet: The television rights in the UK for England’s tour of India remain undecided with just a week left for the series-opener in Chennai from February 5. ‘Telegraph Sport’ reported that Star India, the host broadcaster of the series, was considering showing the tour via its streaming app Hotstar instead of selling it to a conventional broadcaster like Sky.
“But India’s win in Australia and good audience figures on Sky for England’s recent series in Sri Lanka, has increased the market for the rights with even Channel 4 showing an interest,” claimed the report.
How much is Star Sports asking as the Rights Fee? Star Sports has put a price tag of around £20million for the said rights. With no broadcaster willing to meet Star’s asking price it had been feared that the Disney-owned company would opt to show the four-match series on their Hotstar streaming platform.
According to the information available with InsideSport, Star is in talks with Sky Sports, BT Sport and also free to air Channel 4.
Channel 4 are understood to be pushing hard for a deal for live coverage of at least part of the series. If successful, it would see Test cricket return to free-to-air television for the first time since their award-winning coverage of the iconic 2005 Ashes.
The England squad flew into Chennai on Wednesday from Sri Lanka, where they trounced the hosts 2-0. Both England and India players are in the middle of a six-day quarantine.
The first two Tests will be played in Chennai and the final two, including a day-nighter, in Ahmedabad, followed by five T20s at the same venue and three ODIs in Pune.
With most of the people working from home in the UK due to COVID-19 induced lockdown, the Tests are expected to attract record viewership, especially the day-night game which will start at 9am local time.