A review of the legally protected “crown jewels” of British sport led by David Davies, the former Football Association executive, is expected to recommend the four-yearly home series between England and Australia be shown live on terrestrial TV.
Kevin Peake, marketing director at Npower, says having the Ashes on terrestrial television delivers “greater returns for sponsors’ investments, and should attract new businesses to invest in the game”.
“TV exposure is an important part in how we use the Test Series sponsorship to market our brand and enhance our reputation,” he adds.
Npower recently renewed its sponsorship of domestic Test Match Cricket until the end of 2011 with an option to extend until after the end of the next Ashes series in 2013. Peake says any change “will have an impact on our future within the sport.”
This summer’s Ashes series was shown live only on BSkyB. Its Sky sports channel registered a peak audience of two million for the deciding test of the series, won by England.
In 2005, when the deciding Test was shown live on Channel 4, more than seven million watched.
Peake adds that although Sky’s coverage is “first class”, “we can’t escape the fact that viewing figures for cricket on Sky have yet to match those that have been achieved on terrestrial television in previous years.”
Other “crown jewels” include the Olympic Games, the World Cup Finals, the FA Cup Final and the Grand National.