The exhilarating first match of the 2023 Men’s Ashes series was the most-watched home Test in the United Kingdom as Sky Sports produced its highest-ever Test-watching figures, with a peak audience of 2.12 million viewers.
Sky’s coverage of the last day’s play averaged 1.17 million people, with an overall audience of 877,000 registered throughout the five days. Moreover, 1.8 million people watched the game on Sky’s digital platforms.
Since 2006, Sky has enjoyed exclusive live rights to England’s home Test matches as part of a series of media rights agreements with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). Sky signed a new contract with the ECB last year that stretches from 2025 to the end of 2028.
Sky now has exclusive rights to all of England’s home Test matches as well as the majority of their home limited-overs fixtures. It has co-exclusive rights to the remaining limited overs matches with the BBC, which is a public service broadcaster. The ECB’s contracts with Sky and the BBC are for a total of £1.1 billion (€1.3 billion/$1.4 billion) from 2020 to 2024.
Sky Sports, Managing Director, Jonathan Licht, said, “It’s great to see such a thrilling start to the Ashes series and to see that millions of fans are enjoying cricket content across the board. Equally, we’re delighted to see so many young fans engage across so many of our digital channels. We have a fantastic opportunity with both the men’s and women’s sides, who are playing some of the most entertaining cricket in recent memory, and our Sky Sports teams will continue to deliver all of the action throughout the series via our exclusive coverage and unparalleled commentary team.”
ECB, Chief Commercial Officer, Tony Singh, said, “This first Men’s Test kept us all on the edge of our seats and showed the thrills of Test cricket at its best. It’s great to see the excitement it’s generated across the country, whether it was the sell-out crowds inside Edgbaston or the millions watching on television, online or listening.”