Friday, 13 November 2009

Crown Jewels get played with

Television in the UK is bit odd. For a start, you need a licence to own a TV. No, seriously – a licence. The licence largely pays for the BBC. In addition there are a set of sporting events that have to be shown on free-to-air television. This is called the 'Crown Jewels' sporting list. No cricket matches are currently on the list and so, predictably, there is no live cricket on free-to-air television in the UK. Sky has it all and it costs about £36 a month to watch it. It seems that this is to change in the future and that the Ashes (in England) series will be shown on free-to-air television – not until 2017 though.

The ECB are against this. They clearly do not want the general UK population watching cricket. After all, why would you want the grass roots of your sport being able to watch it? The ECB clearly puts it coffers above the populous. Of course we knew that anyway otherwise Sky wouldn’t have the current deal in the first place – but do they have to make it so obvious by complaining about a single series in six years time?

A few immediate thoughts:
  1. Sky could do free-to-air TV if they wanted too. It would make them look like heroes
  2. The ECB have shown themselves to be only concerned about money – so come on Sky screw them right down – you can clearly own them for much less money.
  3. Expect lots of Sky people to hate the idea and say so publicly (Atherton, Warne, Hussain, Lloyd, Botham, Knight , Ward etc)
Personally I think the free-to-air list is a bit weird. Do we have a free market or not? I suppose the UK government supporting banks and train companies would suggest ‘not’.

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