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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 April 2006, 09:38 GMT 10:38 UK
BBC considers 2009 cricket TV bid
A television camera
Live cricket could be back on terrestrial TV from 2010
Director general Mark Thompson says the BBC could bid to televise England games when they are up for tender in 2009.

The BBC currently has exclusive radio rights for home Tests and one-day internationals and will broadcast TV highlights of next year's World Cup.

Thompson told BBC Radio Five Live: "I thought that in the last round the amount the English cricket board were asking for the rights was very high.

"Now I think we should look very closely at cricket again."

BSkyB agreed a four-year contract to run from 2006-9 with the England and Wales Cricket Board in December 2004, removing live cricket from terrestrial TV for the first time.

The deal, which will see highlights from this summer's series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan shown on Channel Five, was approved two months later after complaints to regulator Ofcom.

It depends not just on the choice of the sport, but also on how much it's going to cost
Mark Thompson

Thompson said the BBC could not justify the kind of funds BSkyB had offered at the time and a fresh bid would again depend on the figures involved in three years' time.

"It's a more specialist audience - it's not as big, for example, as for live Premiership football.

"We have to think about value. If you buy one thing, you can't buy another so what you're trying to do when you're thinking about the portfolio of rights is what's your priority.

"It depends not just on the choice of the sport, but also on how much it's going to cost."

The BBC last screened England matches live in 1999 but a government decision to put cricket on the Group B list of sports meant only highlights or delayed coverage could be guaranteed on terrestrial television.

Channel 4 screened home matches from 1999-2005 but lost out to BSkyB when the rights for 2006-9 went up for grabs.


WATCH AND LISTEN
Mark Thompson on BBC Radio Five Live's phone-in



SEE ALSO
BSkyB England Test deal approved
25 Feb 05 |  Cricket


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