The International Cricket Council has said its qualifying tournament for the World Cup will be broadcast on television for the first time in its history, ahead of next year’s edition of its showpiece national team tournament in England and Wales.
The World Cup Qualifier 2018 will be televised across five continents in 200 territories by Indian pay-television broadcaster Star Sports, the ICC’s global media rights partner, and other official broadcasters.
The tournament is being staged in Zimbabwe and will offer two places at the World Cup. Ten matches will be broadcast around the globe, significantly building on the four live-streamed match coverage previously seen at the World Cup Qualifier in 2014.
The 10 matches to be broadcasted at Harare Sports Club will open with the West Indies’ clash against Ireland on March 10, concluding with the tournament final on March 25.
Fans can also watch online or via their mobile devices with the majority of broadcast partners simulcasting live ICC event coverage.
Away from the live broadcasting, the ICC for the first time will make available on-demand clips of match action, highlights and event content to global fans via a portfolio of global clip rights licensees.
A total of 10 digital clip partners covering over 110 countries will provide up to six minutes per hour of near-live match content – as well as match previews, media conferences, match highlights and event features.
Aarti Dabas, the ICC’s head of media rights, broadcast and digital, said: “For the first time ever we are broadcasting 10 matches of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier, this a huge step forward in our ambition to getting cricket to more fans across the world.”
The broadcast partners covering the games includes Star Sports (India and the Indian subcontinent, including Nepal), local broadcaster SuperSport (South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa), Sky Sports (UK and Ireland), OSN (Middle East and North Africa), Fox Sports (Australia), Willow TV (USA), Sky TV (New Zealand), Ten Sports (Pakistan), ESPN (Caribbean), Gazi TV (Bangladesh), SLRC (Sri Lanka) and Star Cricket (Hong Kong).
Digicel will broadcast to fans in Papua New Guinea and Oceania, confirming a partnership that will run until the end of the 2019 World Cup. The ICC said it is likely that more broadcasters will be added to this list in due course.
Digital clips partners include: BBC (UK and Ireland), ESPNcricinfo (UK, Ireland and Australia), Hotstar (India), Cricbuzz (US and Canada), Cricingif (Pakistan), ThePapare.com powered by Dialog (Sri Lanka), Cricket Gateway (South East Asia and Australia), OSN (Middle East and North Africa) and Channel 2 Group (sub-Saharan Africa).