This seems to be the crisis facing the ECB as it seems increasingly likely that home Ashes series will be shown on free TV from now on.
We’ve a few thoughts about this.
Sponsorship of the England team
If we were sponsoring England, we’d pay more if we thought four times as many people were watching. This could offset a fraction of the losses.
The ECB are playing the grassroots card
They’re saying that 23,000 coaches will be put out of work if they can’t sell the Ashes TV rights to Sky. Why does the money have to come out of grassroots cricket? Why can’t it come from the counties? (Because the counties run the game, but they shouldn’t.)
Some counties could go to the wall
A lot of the counties only survive because of ECB handouts. Frankly, if they need a £1.5 million gift to stay afloat, fuck ’em.
And yes, we would still feel the same if one of those counties was Lancashire. The England team comes first by a long way.
If the breeding ground that is county cricket would be even slightly worse for the loss of half a dozen counties, we might think differently. But actually, it would work far better.
- More concentrated talent = good
- Fewer fixtures = good
So take the money off the counties and keep the grassroots the same. With the Ashes on normal TV, more people would take up the sport. You’d be throwing more people at the same grassroots system and only the most talented and determined would get to play for the few counties that remained.
England then pick the best of those. How many fully professional cricketers does the nation honestly need?