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Thread: Sky’s monopoly on Cricket – The Long Term Effects! (Plus general comments on Skys Cov

  1. #1
    U19 Vice-Captain DanielFullard's Avatar
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    Sky’s monopoly on Cricket – The Long Term Effects! (Plus general comments on Skys Cov

    When Sky flashed the cash and obtained the monopoly of cricket here in England there was countless debate over the extent of damage this would do the status of the game in this country.

    The timing could not have been worse. Post-Ashes the nation was back in love with Cricket, grounds were reporting a growth in attendances and the game was buzzing again and the national team was treated like heroes. For a few glorious days they were the focal point of the news, the media and British sport. Engel makes the argument in the new Wisden that had this been on Sky, this wouldn’t have happened. The interest in the series would have been considerably lower due to lack of access. The argument is logical. Sky itself is in more homes than ever but the actual Sports channels are in well under 50% of homes in the nation. Probably much lower than half actually.

    But we find ourselves in a situation where there is no chance of a potential fan switching on TV and being hooked by Cricket. There is no exposure to the game on terrestrial TV. To find Cricket on British TV you have to switch to the 4 dedicated sports channels.

    I know this sounds like another “state of the game” rant but the lack of cricket coverage is annoying. Obviously there is a wider point here. Cricket is not going to go backwards without TV coverage, certainly not at a domestic level as frankly it has always survived and always will. But there is a lot of potential being missed out on. Even one game a month would be a good idea. If Sky weren’t such an unreasonable bunch they could say give a terrestrial station (Channel 4 the obvious choice or Channel 5 for instance which is owned by SKY) a match a month. If sky could increase interest in the CGT by making it available on a limited basis to terrestrial viewers then they could benefit too. I know many people who subscribe to Sky Sports just for Cricket and if they could help raise the status and exposure of the game they would benefit. It works for football. They hold a monopoly on the premiership and their business is boosted by the fact that football at other levels, domestic cups, internationals and European cups, is on terrestrial Tv every week. Football admittedly is a different kettle of fish to Cricket but there is a point in there and that is that exposure is key. Cricket has never had the exposure football has had in the last 30-40 years and hence football has been allowed to pull away as THE British Sport.

    Now, I do think Sky should cover the County championship. After all they put an England U-19 test on Interactive last year so why can’t they do this with County Cricket? Surely it will get more of an audience than the endless repeats that clog up the Sports schedule across the four channels. Heck, Sky Sports Extra doesn’t even have programmes before 4pm on some days.

    Other than that though I like sky’s coverage in general. Channel 4 did a great job and whilst it would be better all round if the Test matches at least were shown on terrestrial Tv I cannot fault Sky’s actual coverage (other than when they don’t have the rights and use a different broadcaster such as the India series).

    They do show a nice range of top-class international Cricket but could and should show more. This year they have stepped it up a gear and we have a heck of a lot of OD’s and Test coming up between nations that aren’t England and Aus.

    But Sky love the One Day game. TV prefers the One Day game and we can’t do anything about it. Domestically, Sky are focused solely on the CGT for the next few months and given that that very competition is a shambles in it new format we could be left with games being covered that don’t mean anything. Loose 3 games out of the first 5 and the competition is over for you.

    But overall Cricket is more of a “spectator” sport than a lot of the sports we see on TV. Whether Sky hold the rights or not it isn’t going to lower crowds. Coverage on terrestrial TV may raise them but the lack of it is certainly not going to bring them down.

    But are the pessimists right in their prediction of this being a bad move for the status game in the this country?
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    International Vice-Captain Jungle Jumbo's Avatar
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    Was there really an U19 Test on the interactive bit? I missed that...

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    I thought Matthew Engel, as usual, got it right in Wisden 2005 about the Sky deal - it was extended later on, of course, by Steven Barnett in Hello Sky, Goodbye World.
    Sky's coverage is proven high-quality. But the loss of mass-exposure will have effects we can't even begin to imagine. The only way we'll know for certain is when we get to 2015 or whenever.
    The fight, of course, has not been given-up and there's still a definate chance that legislation will be put in place by 2009 that forces some terrestrial channel to bid, and ensures that Sky (or any other subscription-only enterprise) cannot get exclusive rights to home Tests.
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    International Vice-Captain open365's Avatar
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    I think it's a bit unfair labeling sky an unreasonable bunch, the terrestrial chanells are to blame for not buying the rights to cricket, if it weren't for sky, we would have to watch it on some crappy pay per veiw channel.

    I agree with you about domestic cricket, i know hardly anyone would watch it, but surely it would get more viewers than watersport world or whatever pointless show they broadcast.


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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    It's not really a case of Sky being a "bunch" - as most people know, Rupert Murdoch has huge influence. He's always known how to use live-and-exclusive sport to drive sales - and what with Freeview becoming ever more prominent, Sky has been finding it harder of late.
    Rupert Murdoch knows what he wants and has little interest in cricket's long-term welfare.
    If cricket is in ruins in 20 years' time, I hardly think that bothers him in the slightest - he'll be of the "oh, well, I'll be dead, won't matter to my business" attitude.
    Yes, the BBC and ITV deserve some criticism but anyone who says C4 should've committed more than they did doesn't really know what they're on.

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    International Vice-Captain open365's Avatar
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    The ECB put the rights as low as they could, but no terrestrial channel would take them so sky got them, can't blame sky for that, and i don't see how you could blame Rupert Murdoch for the future ruining of cricket, all he's doing is giving coverage of cricket, what's wrong with that?

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    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    Err - I don't think it takes rocket-science to realise that the pay-TV-only rights package puts cricket's future in serious jeapardy. Many learned observers of the relationship between sport and TV (Steven Barnett's article really is worth a read) have said so.
    If Rupert Murdoch really did care about cricket's future, he wouldn't have placed the package he did on the table. He made it perfectly clear that, while not demanding all or nothing, he wanted all or would pay a great deal less.
    The BBC did not bid at all; C4 (understandibly - again, read Hello Sky Goodbye World) entered only half-heartedly, clearly not really wanting the thing at all; and ITV and 5ive have never had the slightest interest in the sport. 5ive may have committed itself to highlights, but it won't touch bbb.
    Hopefully, the BBC might be forced into some backtracking by 2009, in time for 2010. By that time, Freeview will be almost everywhere, and there'll be no shortage of airtime. Almost certainly, the days of cricket being shown on stations that make their living from selling commercials are gone. It just doesn't work. C4 tried, and full credit to them for that, but they were always fighting a losing battle.
    But in 2012, the BBC will have God-knows-how-many channels - so "the hole closing over" as Peter Baxter put it will no longer be a problem as many other holes will be able to be easily punched.
    However - in the absence of any legislation, Sky knows when it has a free rein and will be bidding accordingly. The current deal might be worth the equivalent of a goldmine. The next one - with no Govornment ruling - will almost certainly be one hell of a lot smaller.

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    International Vice-Captain open365's Avatar
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    Putting cricket on sky isn't going to make that much difference to the game, think back to the early days when there was no access to tv at all, did we suffer from a shortage of crickters? i don't think so.

    Yes, i know Rupert Murdoch doesn't give a dam about cricket, but i can't see what he did wrong, he bought the rights that no body else wanted, if it wasn't for him, we would have no cricket coverage at all.

  9. #9
    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
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    We would have coverage - C4 did put in a bid, and if theirs was accepted that's the way it'd be.
    If you really think the world of 1935 is comparable to that of 2006 I think you need to think again.
    There are so many more leisure-activities now than then it makes the head spin.
    ALL sports that want to be taken seriously need live TV coverage on terrestrial television, at at least some stage.
    Cricket needs it more than most.
    For a long, long time it's always been a pretty marginal sport.
    Even last summer was never going to change that - but if it'd happened 8 years ago, it would certainly have made more impact than it's gonna do now.

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    State 12th Man Autobahn's Avatar
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    To be fair Sky did to Channel 4 what CH4 did to the BBC when they won the rights, they simply put together a more energetic and persuasive bid with more money on the table and it was already a done deal by the time "ashes fever" struck the country.

    And you also can get Sky Sports free for a year if your a member of a CCC, what susprised me though is how cheap sky sports actually is.

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    U19 Vice-Captain DanielFullard's Avatar
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    I agree with Open365 here and said so in my initial post. My concern was not with the game being ruined, it was more to do with missed opportunity. Cricket has survived this long and will continue to do so regardless of any TV deal in place. Many cricket fans I know who go to the Riverside every week don’t bother following the game on TV at all. Cricket will not be ruined by Tv and to suggest it will be is idiocy. TV has had an impact like it has on many sports but if Cricket stopped being shown on Tv tomorrow would the game be “ruined”? Of course not.

    My point was, which I will make again, is that in the light of Ashes-fever and in the light of Cricket’s status rising because of that great series it seems hugely missed opportunity for it not to be on terrestrial Tv in any form. Where is little 7-year-old John Smith who fell in love with Cricket through the ashes going to be able to watch his heros? Unless his parents are paying for sky then no where.

    It’s a missed opportunity and confines the game largely to current fans in many ways but it will not ruin it.

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    Hall of Fame Member luckyeddie's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, no-one was interested in cricket - until, that is, a certain little urn took centre stage.

    The gradual down-grading of cricket started in the 1990's when the 'crown jewels' status was lost - and face it, the game has been pretty shoddily portrayed by terrestrial television for 40 years or more. The only time as a kid I saw test cricket on the box, it was invariably shared with half a dozen races from Kempton Park.

    The people moaning now (and have been for the last 8 months) are those who had something to do with Channel 4 (Mark Nicholas has written reams on the subject) but how did Channel 4 portray cricket before last year?

    Worthy of cutting transmission of a rain-affected test against South Africa in order to show a re-run of 'Hollyoaks', that's how.

    Incidentally, no terrestrial tv company even submitted a single bid for a highlights package for the post-2006 tests. Screw terrestrial tv.
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    U19 Vice-Captain DanielFullard's Avatar
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    Incidentally, no terrestrial tv company even submitted a single bid for a highlights package for the post-2006 tests
    I didn't know that. Wow, that is suprising. You would have thought Channel 4 would have made some effort at least....Do I sense a case them being in the huff? Saying that they have no reason to be as they should have stumped up the cash if they were that bothered.

    Does anyone know if Sky have any plans to show any County Cricket games? All that is scheduled until the end of May is some very interesting internationals (one thing they must be credited for) and CGT matches. Having not even a highlights show for the CC is daft. They have even stopped showing clips on Sky Sports News. One the one hand they are advertising the new with the Flintoff advert but it doesnt even mention the CC
    Last edited by DanielFullard; 20-04-2006 at 04:00 PM.

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    Hall of Fame Member luckyeddie's Avatar
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    I believe that the two matches between Hants and Notts will be shown in full - there may be others.

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    U19 Vice-Captain DanielFullard's Avatar
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    Thanks for that. Why they don't cover it more is beyond me really.

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