The England and Wales Cricket Board intends to launch a tender process for its whole portfolio of broadcast rights, including a new domestic Twenty20 tournament, this summer, according to the Daily Mail.
The UK newspaper said ECB chief executive Tom Harrison is determined to use this window because he believes the middle of 2017 is the best place to position cricket within the dominant football rights cycle.
In May, ECB chairman Colin Graves said the governing body was seeking to commence talks with broadcasters at the end of last year to agree a rights deal that would guarantee the sport’s survival in the country for the next “10 to 15 years”.
The new Twenty20 competition is set to be a key factor in the talks with broadcasters for a new deal to run from 2020. In January 2015, pay-television broadcaster Sky agreed a two-year extension, from 2018 to 2019, to its partnership with the ECB, covering exclusive live rights to England’s home fixtures, county matches, women's and age-grade cricket.
The plans for the new T20 competition are set to be discussed at a meeting in March.