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Sky to show ICC Cricket World Cup final on free-to-air TV if England qualify

Pay TV broadcaster Sky has announced that it will show the 2019 Cricket World Cup final on July 14 on free-to-air television if England qualify.

While no decision has been taken yet as to which free-to-air channel the final would be shown on, Sky Sports told SportBusiness Media on Friday that a decision will be made should England win its semi-final match.

Sky has been under pressure to show the final of this summer’s World Cup tournament owing to England’s being among the favourites to win the tournament as well as being the host nation.

Prominent figures in the sport have made calls for Sky to maximise the audience for the marquee event, including International Cricket Council chief executive David Richardson.

It was reported on Thursday in The Times newspaper that Sky was considering moving the game to its basic-tier entertainment channel Sky One if England make the final.

Comparisons have been drawn between viewing figures for the Women’s football World Cup, which has been consistently free-to-air, and the ICC Cricket World Cup.

Figures for England Women’s World Cup semi-final match against the USA on Tuesday peaked at 11.7 million. Sky’s sports channels have around 6 million subscribers.

Sky holds a number of key ICC cricket properties after signing an eight-year deal in 2014, giving it the rights to show the Cricket World Cup, World Twenty20 and Champions Trophy tournaments.

Commercial broadcaster Channel 4 and the public-service broadcaster the BBC hold highlights and online clip rights, respectively.

England will play either Australia or India at Edgbaston on July 11 for a place in the final.

It was reported in The Guardian newspaper that Channel 4 is thought to be in talks with Sky over sharing rights to the final.