Friday, February 26, 2010

Clear Blue Water

The Tories have come out against listing the Ashes as a protected 'free to air' sporting event.

To be honest, you'd hardly expect them to do anything else now they've kissed and made up with Rupert Murdoch. Note - the kissing was very much one way, and it wasn't simply a kiss on the lips...

But I'd question some of the figures that are being bandied around - like the ECB could lose up to 75% of their revenue if they don't get Sky's TV money. That seems to assume that no one else bids for any of the TV rights and they are given to a terrestrial channel free-of-charge, which is a ludicrous assumption. It also assumes they can't come up with some sort of deal of the kind I outlined here.

I'd guess that much of the ECB outrage is prompted by the fact that a lot of the Sky money goes to support the cushy lifestyles of their senior honchos, and having to live on reduced rations - flying economy class perhaps, might be rather a shock to the system.

Then there's the issue of what the counties actually do with the money they get given by the ECB. Steve James actually argues in favour of Sky keeping the Ashes here, but does make some excellent points about how the counties waste the money they get from the ECB -

They talk about grassroots cricket when in fact they are thinking just as much of the counties, those 18 bodies full of anachronism, self-interest and conservatism.

Too many decisions made now are downright myopic.


Stuart said...

7.5 million watched the last day of the Oval test in 2005.

2 million watched the last day in 2009, and that was on a Sunday too.

The Old Batsman said...

Yes, but 2005 had become a national event due to the quality of the cricket, something 2009 never approached.

I can see no case for listing the Ashes. Sky have been an excellent broadcaster for cricket, committed to the domestic game too and putting on non-England series that we wouldn't otherwise see. That's a commitment itterly unmatched by any other broadcaster. Why should someone them walk in and take away the one series that makes them the most money? that, in fact, is unfair.

When any other broadcaster guarantees to match sky's commitment, and their bid, and guarantees a broadcast of similar technical quality without interruptions from horse racing, master chef or anything else, then it's a free market, let them bid.

The idea that there are thousands of poor children being starved of the chance to learn about the game is an utter myth. To learn that simple truth, just look at the struggle sky have in convincing advertisers that their subscriber base is anything like the ABC1 nirvana high-end brands want. Sky is a working man's broadcaster, driven by football rights.

James is right [for once] it's down to how the money is spent. I don't have fountains of cash coming in, but I'm more than happy to pay for Sky, and more than happy for them to continue to bid in a free market.

thankew. I feel better now.