December 15, 2004

It's just not cricket

Today’s announcement that the ECB has sold all rights to England’s home test matches exclusively to Sky is the latest disgrace to the sorry authorities that pervade English sport.

The thirty five days or so of circket screened on BBC/C4 each summer birghtened up many people’s miserable childhood and, indeed, introduced them to the game. Apparently future generations will be deprived of this, while the pensioners who make up one third of the game’s audience will be forced to read books about the good old days or turn over their heating costs to Rupert Murdoch. In a world where “there will always be people in certain walks of life who cannot afford certain things,” to quote ECB board member Michael Leach, perhaps it is better to freeze to death.

In an act of incredible short termism, the ECB seek to cash in on England’s recent success by depriving viewers of enjoying it after sitting through years of mediocrity. Support your national team, but don’t expect to see them win anything.

- 10 comments by 3 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. Hear, hear!

    15 Dec 2004, 22:31

  2. No cricket on Channel 4? I'm actually quite happy about that. It's nearly as bad as Trisha, and just as incomprehensible.

    They're forty-eight for four!

    Me: (confused, as usual) Is that good or bad?


    Yeesh. And they never really did win much anyway. Mind you I always found the story behind the Ashes quite amusing. :)

    15 Dec 2004, 22:49

  3. From what I've heard, this breaches a gentleman's agreement made with the government a while back by the ECB, which kept a percentage of home tests on terrestrial channels in return for the government removing home test matches from their "A" category (those sporting events such as the F.A. Cup final that have to be kept on terrestrial television.

    Sadly, gentleman's agreements are useless if someone actually breaks them.

    16 Dec 2004, 02:27

  4. Lee Davis

    Unfortunately I think it probably is that they are being greedy, trying to get more money. Channel 4's coverage was quite good,. It may not be as popular as football and does take up rather a large chunk of the schedule when on, but since the majority of that is pointless daytime tv that is no great loss.

    Greed seems to be overtaking cricket. This years test at Edgebaston the cheapest tickets were £30, for next summer they are £45.

    16 Dec 2004, 08:30

  5. Mathew Mannion

    So basically, what you're saying is, more money for English cricket is a bad thing, right?

    (five are actually showing prime time highlights of all games, which is more than you got for away games before)

    16 Dec 2004, 10:46

  6. Mathew Mannion

    I'm not agreeing with the decision to take it away from terrestrial television, by the way, quite the opposite. I, too, grew up watching cricket on the BBC and that's how I got into the game too. What I am saying though, is that the ECB are desperately short of money for grass roots cricket and it may not be all a bad thing that they have an extra 20mil in their coffers.

    16 Dec 2004, 10:47

  7. Mathew Mannion

    Sky reaches what now though, 6 million homes in the UK? That's about a third of the population isn't it? I don't think a gentleman's agreement has a price though…

    16 Dec 2004, 14:07

  8. Lee Davis

    More money to develop and promote the game is a good thing. wether the extra money actually filters down that far though is debatable. More importantly, as others have said, by making it inaccessible to the majority of the population you are reducing the potential fan base. Your average sky subscriber has umpteen other channels of dross to watch so is far less likely to watch cricket coverage than someone who only has terrestrial tv if it is on.

    16 Dec 2004, 14:29

  9. Mathew Mannion

    With the multi-channel environment I think a lot of sports are going to suffer a similar fate. I think I'm right in saying that the analogue TV turn-off is 2006, so lets assume that everyone will have a FreeView box by then, and therefore be watching 24 hours a day. It's true that a very small proportion of the money in comparison will filter down to grass roots cricket, but surely the issue with getting involved with the sport is more involved with schools rather than television. I used to play cricket for my school and it was brilliant, but you could argue that there's really only international cricket that was watchable on TV in those kind of days. Certainly, counties cricket was banished other than quick reports on Grandstand… On the other hand, Rugby Union has become ever more popular, particularly with the terrestrial involvement in showing cup matches, and yet most of the international rugby has been away from terrerstrial TV for a number of years… I think that getting more cricket played in primary schools should be the major concern for the future of the sport.

    16 Dec 2004, 14:40

  10. Greg Smith

    this is an absolute disgrace. you're always going to get people whining about there being too much sport on tv, but let's face it, if they weren't in a minority, channel 4 would never have tried to renew the deal. cricket is one of this country's oldest sports, yet in recent times has been one of the least popular. whoever allowed this to happen does not have either the common sense or the patriotism to have such responsibility. it's quite simply just not cricket

    05 Jan 2006, 10:50

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Who Am I?

I am a 23-year-old Economics, Politics and International Studies student at the University of Warwick, born and bred in Sunderbans, where I studied at Mount Hermon for several months.


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