Ashes cricket set to go free-to-air

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AshesThe “crown jewels” of sporting events are to come under review by the Government, which may see media giants Sky forced to relinquish their exclusive rights to the Ashes cricket test series. The review could see the Ashes returning to channels that do not require a subscription fee.

Sky currently has an exclusivity deal on the Ashes worth £250 million, but former FA chief David Davies, who is heading the review, believes that sporting events with such “national resonance” should be widely available beyond subscription services.

Theories are already circulating that the Government move is a bargaining chip following deteriorating relations with Sky owners News Corporation. News Corporation also own the Sun newspaper, which recently voiced its change of allegiance from Labour to Conservative in the run up to the next general election.

The company’s billionaire owner Rupert Murdoch has said to have had received a personal call from Prime Minister Gordon Brown this week to address the flailing relations.

Gerald Lynch