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Sky considers basic-tier coverage in UK of Cricket World Cup final

Pay-television broadcaster Sky is reportedly considering showing the final of the ongoing 2019 Cricket World Cup on its basic-tier entertainment channel Sky One rather than making it available free-to-air in the UK, even if host nation England makes the July 14 showpiece.

The World Cup is the marquee event under Sky’s eight-year deal for International Cricket Council-organised events. It is said to be reluctant to give up the rights to a final potentially featuring England.

England’s status as one of the favourites in its home tournament led to calls for increased free-to-air coverage. Speaking to the BBC last month, ICC chief executive David Richardson said he was hopeful that “something can be arranged in that regard” to maximise audience for the showpiece event.

However, The Times newspaper has reported that Sky may instead choose to make the final available to Sky One, which is also providing highlights programmes during the tournament. The channel has almost double the number of subscribers of Sky Sports at 12 million and would therefore take the game to a larger audience.

Viewers also have the option view of purchasing a Sky Sports day pass to watch the final through OTT platform Now TV.

Sky holds the live rights to the competition, while commercial broadcaster Channel 4 and public-service broadcaster the BBC hold highlights and online clip rights, respectively.

England sealed its place in the semi-finals on Wednesday with a 119-run win over New Zealand, and now advances to meet either Australia or India at Edgbaston on July 11.