Why the lack of FTA coverage for this fantastic Test series?

Andrew Young Roar Pro

By Andrew Young, Andrew Young is a Roar Pro

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50 Have your say

    “You can stick with your original decision, you’re on screen now.” Met, we can only assume, with a sigh of relief from the on-field umpire, this utterance from the third umpire signals an unsuccessful review.

    It’s one of myriad sounds I savour from November through to early March annually.

    The sounds of summer – while no longer containing the familiar and comforting tone of Richie Benaud, or playful agitation between Bill Lawry and Tony Greig, all so aptly recreated by Billy Birmingham – are captured and distributed to millions of living rooms across the country.

    While the pinnacle of cricket coverage, for me at least, is ABC Grandstand, with the informed voices of Jim Maxwell and Harsha Bhogle, as well as the addition of Chris Rogers for the most recent Australian summer, we oftentimes resort to Channel Nine because we want pictures. We want to see the action.

    And despite its flaws – the chronicles of Spider Cam, and the introduction of ‘Pitch Scan’ (which, needless to say, pales in comparison to the old-fashioned key test) – annually, we watch. Free coverage of the game we love, how could we not?

    With cricket’s status within Australia often seen as a source of concern for those in high places, efforts to improve its coverage and to bring the crowds back have been concentrated in the form of day-night Test matches.

    Day-night test cricket adelaide oval

    They have been an irrefutable success, with the highest viewer ratings over the last two summers being for the two day-night matches at the Adelaide Oval, as well as at the Gabba.

    It is the perfect time slot, and don’t the commentators love to remind us of how much of a raging success it is – all the while failing to give a quality insight to the happenings of the match, of course.

    It is a shame, therefore, for both those covering the cricket and those of us who want to watch it, that at the moment, an incredible opportunity is being missed.

    The hours of play for the Test series in India coincide almost exactly with those we would use here in Australia for day-night Test cricket, the optimum viewing times for the majority of the Australian public.

    As it happens though, only a minority – those with pay TV – can enjoy it.

    I understand the value of TV rights, and that my argument stems from nothing more than an unceasing desire to watch cricket, and a frustration that it must come at a cost, but it seems a shame that many among a cricket-supporting nation are missing out on a most enthralling series, full of fire, spite and heated competition.

    It just isn’t the same catching up through media reports and delayed video highlights, and those who would broadcast the game on free-to-air, let alone the people responsible for its promotion, have let a fantastic opportunity go begging.

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    The Crowd Says (50)

    • Roar Rookie

      March 20th 2017 @ 2:16pm
      josh said | March 20th 2017 @ 2:16pm | ! Report

      I can’t recall an Indian series ever being on TV?

      The only non Ashes series was the 95(?) West Indies series were Australia would claim the mantle as the #1 team.

      • March 20th 2017 @ 3:41pm
        Brainstrust said | March 20th 2017 @ 3:41pm | ! Report

        your forgetting South Africa vs AUstralia when they returned to test cricket.

      • March 20th 2017 @ 4:36pm
        Gurudoright said | March 20th 2017 @ 4:36pm | ! Report

        And that ’95 Windies tour was on a community tv station in Sydney and not any of the 5 big stations ie ABC. 7,9,10 or SBS

        • March 21st 2017 @ 3:15pm
          E-Meter said | March 21st 2017 @ 3:15pm | ! Report

          Channel 10 had it where I was living in Ballina at the time.

    • March 20th 2017 @ 2:16pm
      Andy said | March 20th 2017 @ 2:16pm | ! Report

      It is weird for Australia to be playing and to know that they are playing but not being able to turn on the tv and see it easily.

      • March 20th 2017 @ 2:29pm
        spruce moose said | March 20th 2017 @ 2:29pm | ! Report

        Is it?

        Honestly, Ashes aside, when was the last time an overseas was on FTA??

        What a weird comment.

        • March 20th 2017 @ 2:59pm
          Nate said | March 20th 2017 @ 2:59pm | ! Report

          Was a common sight in the 80’s and 90’s but its been a long time.

          • March 20th 2017 @ 3:16pm
            spruce moose said | March 20th 2017 @ 3:16pm | ! Report

            Hence why it can hardly be called weird.

    • March 20th 2017 @ 2:26pm
      Sam Knox said | March 20th 2017 @ 2:26pm | ! Report

      If you have it, you will enjoy some fantastic cricket and very enjoyable commentary which has been missing for many years on 9

      • Roar Pro

        March 20th 2017 @ 3:13pm
        Andrew Young said | March 20th 2017 @ 3:13pm | ! Report

        Exactly! and for a cricket tragic like me (and many others), it’s difficult not to have the access!

    • March 20th 2017 @ 2:49pm
      Brainstrust said | March 20th 2017 @ 2:49pm | ! Report

      The time slot for an Indian series is sensational for Australian TV. There is definelty a colonial attitude in cricket where you had Ashes coverage only in the old days. .
      Commercially it makes perfect sense for commercial channels on free to air to be showing the series.
      With the entire domestic series on free to air I don’t think Foxtel attracts many people who are just interested in cricket/
      Foxtel doesn;t pay a lot for overseas coverage as far as I know, India is mentioned as providing most of the income for away series.Their ratings for the cricket aren’t that good on Foxtel which tends to indicate cricket followers don’t bother with Foxtel.
      The commercial free to air channels want to prioritise AFL/NRL seasons, and then reserve the cricket for only the off season. CHannel 9 has NRL, Channel 7 has AFL, the big question is what is CHannel 10 doing, they have no real incentive to priotise AFL or NRL, but they do.

      • March 20th 2017 @ 9:56pm
        Jeff dustby said | March 20th 2017 @ 9:56pm | ! Report

        It’s because it’s in prime time
        Ashes is on later st night

    • March 20th 2017 @ 2:50pm
      Mark said | March 20th 2017 @ 2:50pm | ! Report

      Why? Once the footy seasons start, most Aussies could hardly care less about the cricket. My Kitchen Rules, Married at First Sight and the other reality TV garbage that the FTA stations show rate just as well, if not better, than overseas Test series’ and cost the FTA networks hardly anything to produce, compared to cricket TV rights which are expensive to acquire.

      • Roar Pro

        March 20th 2017 @ 2:57pm
        Andrew Young said | March 20th 2017 @ 2:57pm | ! Report

        I completely understand Mark, hence my justification “my argument stems from an unceasing desire to watch cricket”. I know not everyone shares my POV, just expressing it 🙂

        • March 20th 2017 @ 4:27pm
          Mark said | March 20th 2017 @ 4:27pm | ! Report

          I can totally understand.

          To be honest, I have probably watched more of this series than I have of the past two Australian summers. It has been great watching. That has had a lot to do with the series being on Foxtel, though, rather than on FTA. I don’t even bother connecting my main TV up to FTA these days.

        • March 20th 2017 @ 7:18pm
          John Erichsen said | March 20th 2017 @ 7:18pm | ! Report

          Heck, I remember when the ABC had the coverage rights and we would see the last session of shield games upon getting home from school. Those were the days!
          Now, its all about the money, money, money…

          • Roar Pro

            March 20th 2017 @ 7:59pm
            Andrew Young said | March 20th 2017 @ 7:59pm | ! Report

            Spot on John, TV rights more important than the games they cover

          • March 20th 2017 @ 9:57pm
            GWSINGAPORE said | March 20th 2017 @ 9:57pm | ! Report

            Yes. For NSW viewers that meant a “primed” Keith Miller. “Gee, this bloke can bat a bit, what’s his name Jim?” “Alan Border, Keith.”

      • March 20th 2017 @ 3:47pm
        Neville said | March 20th 2017 @ 3:47pm | ! Report

        Given the option between AFL, ARL, FFA, MKR or Test Cricket from India, I’m with Andrew – Test Cricket wins every time. T20 coverage is a whole different story – as boring and predictable as the other reality TV garbage that the FTA stations dump on us year after year.

        • Roar Pro

          March 20th 2017 @ 3:53pm
          Andrew Young said | March 20th 2017 @ 3:53pm | ! Report

          Thanks for the support, Neville. We seem to be thinking on exactly the same lines!

    • Editor

      March 20th 2017 @ 4:03pm
      Benjamin Conkey said | March 20th 2017 @ 4:03pm | ! Report

      Hi Andrew. Good points re: the time difference. I remember how exciting it was coming home from school and watching the 1996 Cricket World Cup from India.
      Not sure how many games Channel 9 broadcast. Certainly got me hooked on the game with the Sri Lanka’s tactics of aiming for 100 off the first 14 overs.

      If Channel 9 didn’t have rugby league they might consider trying to poach a few more overseas cricket tours. The way things are now networks have to pick and choose, and the rights for the Australian summer are probably stretching the budget as is.

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