If you want to watch the ICC next year, you will have to pay for it

dan
By dan
7 Min Read

Earlier this week, the Amazon-owned Prime Video streaming service announced it will be the exclusive Australian home for all men’s and women’s International Cricket Council (ICC) tournaments for the next four years.

The deal begins in January and will cover 448 live international matches, including men’s and women’s Cricket World Cups and Champions Trophy.

It’s not as if this is the first time that cricket has been behind a paywall in Australia – the recent ODi World Cup was available to Foxtel and streaming Kayo subscribers – but at least the Australian games were available for everyone to access on the free-to-access Channel 9.

Less than a fifth of Australians have access to Prime Video, with 4.5 million reported to have a subscription (according to analytics company Telstye). So, if you want to watch the cricket, you’re going to need to get out your credit card and pay a few bucks to Amazon.

Understandably, a lot of people are pretty pissed off about this. A common sentiment found online:

Speaking to Australian industry website Mediaweek about the deal, an Amazon representative said Prime Video’s focus is on “offering Australians content they want to watch, and it’s well known that Aussies love sport”.

“We want to be part of the growing and changing mix of options Australians have to enjoy sports content on their screens,” they added.

How can Amazon do this?

The government has rules in place that keep major sporting events on free-to-air broadcasters, making them free and accessible for all Australians.

They’re called “anti-siphoning rules” and just last week, the Australian Government introduced laws to parliament that would give local free-to-air broadcasters the right of first refusal for identified important sporting events.

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said: “All Australians regardless of where they live, or what they earn, should have the opportunity to enjoy free TV coverage of iconic sporting events.”

But the ICC games don’t qualify under the anti-siphoning rules. The only games protected are cricket World Cup matches played by Australia in either Australia or New Zealand, but none of the scheduled matches are to be hosted locally over the next four years.

The next local games will be part of the 2028 men’s T20 World Cup, which takes place after Amazon’s deal expires.

Free TV Australia chief Bridget Fair commented on the deal:

“The Amazon ICC Cricket World Cup deal announced in early December made it abundantly clear that subscription streaming services with deep pockets are coming for the iconic sporting events Australians love, just like they have with the NFL in the US and Premier League in the UK.

“Without updates to our anti-siphoning rules to bring them into the streaming age, there is a real risk we could lose the free broadcast of big events like the Matildas, so we can expect this debate to continue well into 2024,” she said.

What games will be on Prime Video

The four-year deal gives Prime Video the rights to the following:

  • Men’s T20 World Cup: USA/West Indies (June/July 2024)
  • Women’s T20 World Cup: Bangladesh (September/October 2024)
  • Men’s Champions Trophy: Pakistan (February/March 2025)
  • World Test Championship final: England (June 2025)
  • Women’s ODI World Cup: India (September/October 2025)
  • Men’s T20 World Cup: India/Sri Lanka (September/October 2026)
  • Women’s T20 World Cup: England (June 2026)
  • Women’s Champions Trophy: Sri Lanka (February 2027)
  • World Test Championship final (mid-2027)
  • Men’s ODI World Cup: South Africa/Namibia (October/November 2027)

Keep in mind – it isn’t all the cricket

There will still be cricket available to watch for free on TV. This deal with Amazon only covers the ICC tournaments. Early this year, Foxtel and Seven signed a new deal for another seven years that will keep international and Big Bash cricket matches on their services.

You’ll still be seeing a whole lot of cricket on Foxtel, its streaming service Kayo, and on Channel 7 until the end of the 2030/31 summer.

How to watch Prime Video

If you are okay with paying for the cricket, you’re going to need an Amazon Prime subscription. After an initial 30-day free trial, you’ll be charged $9.99 a month or $79 for a year. This also gives you access to the Prime Video library of TV shows and movies. Our picks:

  • Air – Matt Damon stars in the film written and directed by Ben Affleck (he’s in it too). It’s about the effort by Nike to sign Michael Jordan as a spokesperson in the 80s and how they designed the Air Jordan sneakers for him.
  • The Continental – A three-part action show about the hotel from the John Wick movies. (John Wick 1, 2, and 3 are on Prime too)
  • The Boys – What if superheroes existed in the real world and abused the privileges their physical powers and public adoration gives them? Warning: Don’t watch this with your mum or the kids around. It’s very violent and the comedy is dirty(!)

You will also need to be able to get Prime Video on your TV. Most smart TVs will have it either pre-installed or available to download from the app store. If it isn’t available, you might need to buy a device to plug into your TV.

At Build-It, we like the Chromecast with Google TV – it costs between $30-50, depending on whether you want a 4K version or not. Prime Video supports 4K, but we don’t know yet whether the streamed ICC will be available in 4K. It’s only twenty bucks more, so it may be worth it.

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Dan Barrett is a Brisbane-based content creator who has experience working for a broad range of Australian media organisations including SBS, Mediaweek, and Radio National. He is passionate about human-focused digital media, is one of Australia’s earliest podcasters, and has a love affair with Ben & Jerrys that cannot be rivalled.