Whisper confirms today it is about to embark on two exciting new cricket contracts, one with the BBC and another with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
The first, with the BBC, will see Whisper deliver the broadcaster’s peak-time cricket highlights, as the sport returns to BBC TV on Wednesday 8 July, for the first time in a decade. The multi-year contract includes TV highlights for domestic Test matches, ODI matches and T20Is matches from Summer 2020.
Separately, Whisper will also deliver a range of online highlights and clips for the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) throughout 2020. This includes all Tests, ODIs and T20Is across both men and women’s international teams.
Led by Rob Williams, who has produced multiple ICC tournaments including last year’s World Cup final at Lord’s, Whisper’s cricket production team will also include Mark Cole and Sunil Patel, who were involved in the BBC’s cricket coverage from 1999 to 2009. Mark has worked on multiple Cricket World Cups, Ashes and T20 World Cups for the BBC, as well as live Test match cricket and ODIs for Sky Sports.
They will sit alongside production executive Sarah Warnock, who previously worked on major International Cricket Council (ICC) events and senior production executive Anne Somerset, while digital and multi-platform strategy will be managed by Chris Hurst, who has over 15 years of experience and previously worked for the ICC.
For the BBC, the team has been tasked to maximise the reach and impact of cricket, take the sport to new audiences and encourage more people to pick up a bat and ball as part of the BBC’s cross-platform coverage.
Commenting on the BBC contract, Whisper’s CEO Sunil Patel said: “It’s such an incredible opportunity to work on cricket for the BBC and everyone at Whisper is really motivated to deliver in the ambitious way that we approach all our projects. The sport seems to be enjoying a resurgence after England’s dramatic victory in last year’s Cricket World Cup and it’s great seeing the positive influence that sport can generate. There are many cricket fans within Whisper and the team is full of ideas of how we can work on our new cricket projects to showcase the sport and attract new audiences.”
For the ECB, Whisper has proven experience of using social media to grow audiences in other sports, such as NFL (for BBC), Formula 1 (for Channel 4) and the Women’s Super League (for the FA), while last year it produced a daily digital-first show with The FA during the Women’s World Cup, which amassed nearly 10 million views.
ECB Senior Creative Manager Jimmy Lee commented: “We are really excited to be partnering with Whisper, who are bringing great energy and innovation to the industry at this time. I can't wait to deliver the forthcoming international cricket season with Sunil, Mark and the rest of the team, who share our ambition to raise the game for sports storytelling in the digital space."
Mark Cole, Whisper MD said: “We’re delighted to be working with the ECB, which will provide another chance to showcase our digital storytelling. Our team has a huge passion for cricket and strong ideas around using social platforms to grow audiences. The future partnership will allow us to continue to support the women’s game and appeal to diverse audiences across the country. We are excited about working with both the ECB and the BBC to showcase that cricket is a game for all.”
Currently producing more quick turnaround highlights for terrestrial television than any other independent company, Whisper adds cricket to its highlights portfolio, which includes Formula 1, Women’s Six Nations, Women’s Super League, SailGP, W Series and NFL.