ECB and the BBC have announced a new broadcast partnership for county cricket, with live ball-by-ball commentary of every LV=County Championship match available throughout the season, plus all Yorkshire Bank 40 and Friends Life t20 matches.
Starting with the opening of the LV=County Championship (10 April 2013) the commentaries will broadcast via BBC online streams, which will be hosted on the BBC Sport website and promoted on BBC Local Radio websites, the ECB website and county cricket websites.
To support the new streams, the BBC Sport website has updated the design of all of its 'county cricket' pages, which will provide easy access to the live commentaries as they happen. The county cricket page will link to the scorecards for each game and feature the best interviews and audio highlights gathered from the network of BBC commentators and correspondents around the country. The page will also link to external county cricket sites.
BBC Local Radio has supported county cricket for over a decade, and this new agreement extends that commitment to now include all 18 counties. There will also be increased coverage on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, including commentary of an LV= County Championship match every week. Commentary will come from current BBC Local Radio teams, Radio 5 live sports extra regulars and new talent.
ECB Chief Executive David Collier said: "Today's announcement is a fantastic boost for county cricket ahead of the new domestic season next month and represents an important part of ECB's wider transformation plan for the county game which was announced last year following publication of the 'Morgan Review.'
"With a new domestic playing schedule due to start in 2014, we are keen to promote the county game to the widest possible audience and delighted that the BBC will be providing such comprehensive coverage of all our county competitions, and seeking to recruit a new generation of broadcasting talent. This is great news for all followers of county cricket nationwide, and for the 18 First Class Counties who will undoubtedly benefit from wider levels of media exposure."
Richard Burgess, BBC Head of Radio Sport and Sports News said: "There is a big appetite for county cricket coverage and this broadcast partnership between the BBC and the ECB means that the entire season will now be available to audiences. The BBC has a long-standing commitment to cricket commentary, and this is a great opportunity to further raise the profile of the sport and promote the game at county level through BBC Sport's multi-platform capabilities."
"In addition the partnership provides an opportunity to identify and develop new cricket commentary talent on the BBC, and will help counties to build relationships further both with local BBC services and other external partners. We're looking forward to an exciting cricket summer on the BBC, including ball-by-ball coverage of The Investec Ashes Test Series on Test Match Special on Radio 5 live sports extra."
BBC Hereford and Worcester's Sports Editor Trevor Owens added: "Our coverage of Worcestershire County Cricket Club is a really important part of what we do, and we're delighted to be providing ball-by-ball commentary for another season.
"We know how highly our listeners value the commentaries from the huge volume of letters and emails we received at the end of last season.
"We look forward covering the LV= County Championship,Friends Life t20 and YB40 games this season and hope we'll be describing a successful and much drier summer for Worcestershire."
BBC county cricket commentary will be available worldwide.