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BBC hopes to simulcast 2013 Ashes - 28-October-2009, 20:00

BBC hopes to simulcast 2013 Ashes

The BBC is looking at going head to head with Sky with a simulcast broadcast of the Ashes. Dominic Coles, the BBC's director of sport rights, has revealed that the corporation's strategy for bringing the Ashes back to terrestrial television rests on the hope that it can simulcast the 2013 home series with Sky Sports, meaning the Ashes would be shown live by both broadcasters.

David Davies, the former Football Association executive, is close to completing his review of the list of sporting events that should be free to air, which he should hand over to the government next week. The England and Wales Cricket Board has argued that if Test cricket were returned to the "crown jewels" list, the domestic game would lose up to 140 million (E154m) in revenue from Sky, whose deal ends in 2013.

But Coles's proposal offers an intriguing option that could prove difficult for Davies to reject. "We can never compete with Sky in terms of the vast amounts of money they offer," he said of the four-year, 300 million contract. "But since 2005 the numbers watching sport on pay-TV have plateaued. So we feel that if Sky retained all of England's international cricket but allowed us to simulcast only the next Ashes series this would be a solution. The BBC would also be in a position to broadcast it all by then because of the digital TV switch-on and the proliferation of channels."

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