Cricket returns to terrestrial television

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Rejoice poverty-stricken victims of Sky. Cricket’s going to be free again. Top Welsh terrestrial station S4C have bought the rights to five Glamorgan matches. All the other stuff’s still on Sky, mind.

A spokeswoman for the BBC explained their decision not to bid for any of the 35 packages available:

“We have always said that any bid for live Test cricket is subject to value for money and ability to schedule. In our view neither of these criteria were met.”

We’re not entirely sure what the ECB could have done to help the BBC fit Test matches into their schedule. Tests are played in the daytime in summer and last for five days. If the BBC’s bid’s always going to be subject to that, then they’re out aren’t they?

We’re massively disappointed that none of the terrestrial channels made an effort to get the Friday night Twenty20 tournament. We really believe that having live Twenty20 on the telly on a Friday night could do wonders for the sport.


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  1. The BBC are too busy funding crap reality “find a West End star” type shows and rubbish like My Family.

    Evidently they don’t feel they bear any responsibility for supporting our national summer game and potentially attracting England cricketers of the future.


  2. isn’t this about why the cricketing isn’t on the magic list that ensures that some matches must be shown on terrestrial, like football and rugby (union, not sure about league) are?

    strikes me a a big pile of ballsacs.

    Silent boos all round. Boo!

  3. That’s the BBC’s argument. Some think the fact they didn’t bid shows a lack of commitment. The BBC think they’re making a point by not bidding.

    Whatever. The home Ashes series should be on the magic list either way.

  4. Are the ECB, only upset that the BBC or any other Terrestrial Channel, did not bid, because it did not lead to a bidding war, meaning that SKY did not have to hoik up the amount they are willing to pay?

    Or is that just me being cynical?

  5. Bit of both, probably. They reorganised the rights into 35 packages after meeting with the BBC, so it seems like it was done for their benefit in at least some part.

    It was a ‘cake and eat it’ situation, but that’s not to say it was necessarily all that bad if the ECB got to sit there in sweet indulgent bliss.

    If the BBC succeed in their bid to get cricket on the list, all’s well and good. If they don’t, it’s all been for nothing.

    Even if they do succeed, it’ll still be another five years before the masses see any benefit.

  6. If the Beeb get Cricket back on “Crown Jewells” list. Would this mean that the ECB have to accept whatever is offered from the five main channels?

  7. “35 packages” – that’s 35 separate packages – and they ended up with exactly the same deal. That’s a one in 35 chance. Who’d have thought?

    Then Giles Clarke throws the first punch, before anyone criticises him, he’s had a pop at the BBC.

    Clarke is wrong and evil. He’s a member of the Merchant Venturers – – a masonic-style group of Bristolian business ruling the world.

    Its members’ predecessors made their cash out of slaves.

  8. The issue of not having terrestrial cricket is not restricted to the UK either. There is no easy legal way to watch cricket on TV in the Netherlands. Since seeing is playing for a lot people, there is no way to get larger amounts of people interested in cricket.

    When the BBC did broadcast cricket, the annual batch of new cricketers in the Netherlands was significantly higher.

    Now, of course this could be a grand scheme to keep the associates from gaining some mass and thereby threatening the ECB.. Who knows.

  9. You can tell by his face that Clarke’s a wrong ‘un. Honestly. Just look at it.

    No-one’s done much of good in this though. All parties say they want some sort of solution whereby some live cricket appears on terrestrial TV, but clearly no-one wants it THAT much.

    Except Sky. Sky don’t say that. It’s quite clear what Sky want and they get it. So, rather strangely, they’re the least to blame.

  10. They are the most to blame as they essentially blackmail the ECB. They say: give us all cricket and we’ll pay you billions. Give us all cricket minus one Test, you’ll get an fraction of that.

    And they know no one can compete with that. It is anti-competitive, aggressive and wrong.

    But ECB don’t mind, because they can say yes and make loads of money. That’s the money that cricket doesn’t really need.

  11. How much does it cost to make an episode of My Family? Hour for hour, cricket’s got to be something of a bargain, and it’s not like My Family has much global re-sale value.

  12. I’m no Clarke fan, anyone named Clarke come to think of it though only Michael, Rikki, and Giles spring to mind, but I did like his comment enquiring how many people “play” Formula One.

    The BBC didn’t bid because they don’t want it. They’re more than happy it isn’t one of the “crown jewels” because then they’d be obliged to bid for it and that would divert valuable fee payers money away from creating such “classics” as the previously mentioned My Family and force Cash In The Attic and Bargain Hunt from the schedules, upsetting literally dozens of people worldwide.

  13. D Charlton, surely you can’t blame Sky for acting in their own interests? It’s not like they’re some sort of benevolent organisation.

  14. Unfortunately there are a lot of saddoes out there who actually like My Family and Cash in the Attic. The BBC becomes more like ITV every year, for all its pretensions to being the more cultured choice.

    Cheeses me off too that Sky takes Cricket Am off the schedules the moment the football season starts. It’s not like they don’t have enough channels to run both. Their commitment to cricket isn’t absolute.

  15. KC – they’re not some benevolent organisation but there are such things as monopolies and unfair trading – that’s where they have fallen down.

    It’s pure business bullying, Thatcherite, power with no responsibility etc etc. If this deal got tried in a European court, i bet they’d lose and they’d be forced to relinquish some cricket.

    There is previous: see football deal – now on more than one channel when it was ruled Sky were being anti-competitive.

    But who’s going to kick up a stink? Bloggers, a few cricket fans and certainly NOT the BBC. Clarke and Sky know this…

  16. We’re in total agreement. We’re saying that you can’t expect Sky to take a step back of their own volition, but as you rightly say, there doesn’t seem to be anyone to persuade them to do so either.

  17. Everyone knows the best way to ‘watch’ cricket is by Teletext anyway…or was, until it went digital. Good old page 340…

    Personally, I’ll never get Sky until I can pick and choose what I want to pay for; I don’t want hundreds of ad-ridden channels of utter dross, nor do I want all of Sky Sports in its entirety; Freesat with the option to watch a test match (or a day of a test match) for a reasonable cost via pay-per-view would suit me down to the ground (but probably not Sky).

    As for the BBC, they’ve got BBCs 3 & 4 doing sod-all during the day; they could easily put cricket on there. They’re just being jerks.

    TV needs to lose a few hundred channels to force the quality up; honestly, it was infinitely better when there were only 4 to choose from.

  18. Bang on.

    You’re not paying for what you want. You’re paying for what you want and a pile of turgid shit as well.

    Mostly you’re paying for the the pile of turgid shit.

  19. And much of that turgid shit will soon be HD. Woopee

    In agreement with you all – especially page 340 …

  20. Surely 341 was first stop during a test match?

    Sky have international cricket because they are prepared to pay for it. I seem to remember that when channel 4 lost the cricket, at the end of 2005, their bid for continued coverage was less than their initial bid to actually gain coverage a few years earlier. Don’t get me wrong, I despise Sky with every fibre in my body. They are a dreadful organisation who feel the need to rape my wallet at every given opportunity – but for Christ’s sake; they don’t have any opposition. If the BBC feel they are unable to schedule test matches then it’s a done deal. It’s not Sky’s fault that no one else can be arsed.

  21. I’m still so annoyed about the BBC v ECB. Annoyed – I can’t even think about it properly!!! So I’m rambling instead.
    Good on the Welsh – Its nice to see a country backing its national game!

    I thought the BBC was meant to be some guardian of national cultural identity. Some cricket is on radio – but it’s visual, with all the extra BBC3s, 4s, and i at its disposal. The proms are suited to radio and not visual and yet the BBC finds TV airtime for them – in addition to radio – Bizarre! If you watch the BBC you would not know cricket was still played at all in Britain [except in bloody period dramas]. It’s total denial of a sport. And the ECB is supposed to be promoting the exposure of the sport to urban kids. Surely sponsors such as Addias would be happier if more kiddies had access to viewing their product – pester power n all. Perhaps that’s why Clark is disappointed with the Beeb – the sponsoring natives are restless – they know there is a bigger audience to be had rather than just Sky punters?

    There isn’t even a general round up show for the tests or county competions, let alone a regular magazine show of the soap opera that is the counties. If the BBC can get them to do dancing or quizzes surly cricketers can be sat on the sofa to talk about the evils of cricket [it must be evil, the children must not see it!]. Why are there saleable rights to general magazine shows? I’m English – I expect to be bored to death by live cricket on TV [not just ‘the Ashes’] and not references to it on the Vicar of Dibbly. You can see loads of time consuming sports on the BBC, golf, snooker, bowls [bowls!] 3 day eventing, formula 1.

    Tests and the Ashes confuse things – I want to know just why no short form live Cricket is available on freeview?!! Test matches present special problems but couldn’t they just have got even the FP Trophy final!!! [Just how difficult would that be to show live?!]

    Why are there no highlights shows for non internationals, or away internationals on freeview, even if no Friday live Twenty20 – surely the highlights should have been a snappy proposition – I would have thought the talent at the BBC would have got well stuck into that. Does Cricket have to be shown live???? Seeing an evening showing of Twenty20, when you got home from work – I’d give it a go, but no second hand stuff on offer either.

    Is it down to the ECB just not packaging up what is available in a sensible way. Although 35 packages does seem a lot [are they listed – sorry I haven’t looked yet?]. There are so many matches on some days in the season surely something must have been going cheap – Sky favour certain teams – eg Lancashire don’t they – so why weren’t Durham matches enticingly good value? There is a short window of no football with only Wimbledon, surly the BBC could have got a few matches as fill in then – just as an experiment? And that’s what’s really odd – the BBC isn’t even experimenting a little, with audience demand, and it has the added facility of i player too!

    I’m still not going to get Sky!

  22. I do love TMS though. I hate the shipping forecast – “you’re at sea around Britain, the weather will be shit, the sea will be rough, back to Jonathan Agnew”, would take up far less time and be just as accurate.

  23. Scheduling a problem?

    10:30 – DuckTales: The Movie – Treasure of the Lost Lamp

    11:40 – A Boy Named Charlie Brown

    13:00 – Out of the Blue (Drama)

    13:25 – Coast (Travel)

    13:30 – Britain’s Dream Homes (Series)

    14:30 – Castle in the Country (Documentary)

    15:00 – Murder, She Wrote (Drama)

    15:45 – Flog It! (Game Show)

    16:30 – Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is (Business and Finance)

    17:15 – Cash in the Celebrity Attic (Consumer)

    That is BBC 2’s listings for the first day of the fourth test match – England versus South Africa at the Brit Oval.

  24. Daneel, “As for the BBC, they’ve got BBCs 3 & 4 doing sod-all during the day; they could easily put cricket on there. They’re just being jerks.”

    Unfortunately, the BBC 3 & 4 frequencies are taken up by CBBC and CBeebies before 7pm so that one wouldn’t work.

  25. I like the shipping forecast — it takes me away to the high seas, being tossed on the waves, wearing a big yellow sou’wester. Okay, knowing where most of the bits are helps (although you can work a lot of them out), but I think I’d still find it pure magic if I didn’t.

    I’ve got the theme from Portland Bill in my head now.

    Anyway, the cricket. It’s disgraceful. Every year, there’s one flagship home Test series, and that should be on terrestrial TV. At least a weekly highlights program during the season would be nice.

    Oh, and on the subject of Ceefax, it was often 353 for me. Except when they decided to switch to 352 for no apparent reason.

  26. Presumably most of the programmes in that schedule are repeats too? Even cheaper crap telly.

    I do pay for Sky, though I resent it, because it’s the only way I can watch the sport I love. Have no wish to cut off my nose on a matter of principle. Just have to accept it and keep paying the ever inflating costs.

  27. The contracts are supposedly worth £100m a year. That’s one honking great sum of money. To put it into perspective, it’s almost half of the BBC’s entire annual radio budget. Much as it’d certainly be nice to have Test cricket on the Beeb, it really doesn’t represent good licence payer value. It hogs an entire channel for most of the day (when they only have four to play with), is largely on at a time when most people are at work and is already covered superlatively by TMS.

    A public service broadcaster’s remit is certainly to safeguard the national culture in some form, but this IMO doesn’t extend to entering into bidding wars for something that will get covered anyway. This is why their broadcasting the Proms is a poor example – if the BBC didn’t, no-one else would. This clearly isn’t the case with cricket, or Sky wouldn’t be spaffing a quarter of a billion quid on it over three years. Like it or not, cricket on Sky is a result of cricket’s popularity, not its endangered state.

    In the end, it’s not the BBC’s job to channel vast sums to a commercial venture in the name of developing the “national summer game”. It’s their job to cover those things that are valuable, and yet would otherwise not be shown. They seem to be concentrating just on the second part with “How do you solve a problem like Maria,” mind you.

  28. Has anyone got round to answering the question “how many people play formula one”?

    If not, i will. It think the answer is 22.

  29. @Gaz.

    CBeebies? Children don’t play licence fees – screw ’em. My needs should take priority.

  30. Daneel,

    No I’m not having that, Cbeebies allows me a bloody lie in at the weekend, you leave higglepiggle and his friends alone!

  31. I am fortunate(at the moment ) of being able to afford sky for cricket.However,I Feel if BBC can afford to pay the likes of jonathan Ross and co excessive salaries.they could make realistic bids for cricket matches.There are many pensioners and low earners who would love to watch cricket.Or dont they count even on a public service TV channel

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