The BBC has signed a new four-year deal with the ECB to provide ball-by-ball commentary of every men’s First Class and List A cricket match played in England and Wales covering the LV= Insurance County Championship, the Royal London Cup and the Vitality Blast.
Including Bears fixtures across all formats, the deal will see some 3,100 days of cricket broadcast on the BBC’s network of local radio stations, including BBC WM and BBC Coventry & Warwickshire, the BBC Sport website and BBC Radio Wales (in the case of Glamorgan games). Some will also be aired on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra.
The agreement means the BBC will provide coverage of all red and white ball competitions for the following four domestic cricket seasons through to the end of 2024.
Stephanie Marshall, Head of Sport for BBC England, said: “Last year this service was invaluable for cricket-lovers across England and Wales as all the matches took place behind closed doors. As we start to come out of lockdown, we hope the stands will start to fill – but, as ever, we will remain at the heart of it all with ball-by-ball commentary of every single match.”
Today’s announcement also secures the return of the award-winning Bears PodBlast, hosted by BBC WM’s Richard Wilford and Bears fast bowler Olly Hannon-Dalby.
“Olly and I have spoken a lot about the Bears PodBlast over the winter and we’re very excited to return for a fourth season,” said Wilford. “It’s become an important part of our summer programming and we’ll kick off 2021 shortly with a very special episode, before returning for our usual weekly slot over the course of the Blast season.
“We’ve got some great characters in the Bears ranks and, with several great additions over the close season, Olly and I can’t wait to bring the alternative side of the Blast season to the Members and supporters.”
Included in the deal is a commitment to get new and diverse commentary talent on air through the BBC’s ‘third voice’ scheme.
Adam Mountford, Assistant Editor of BBC Cricket, said County Cricket is “a cornerstone” of the corporation’s coverage. He added: “The County Cricket service has proved to be a breeding ground for the next generation of cricket commentators with the likes of Charles Dagnall, Aatif Nawaz, Isabelle Westbury and Scott Read all becoming Test Match Special regulars following time spent doing County games.”