Wealth of Nations

Amid the early stages of the county cricket season, and away from the bizarre debate about Alastair Cook’s choice of helmet in which to bat, the IPL continues.  It is of course hidden away on Sky, as is pretty much all cricket bar the odd tournament on BT Sport, but it is unquestionably the daddy of all T20 domestic tournaments.  As such it attracts the very best players, commands the highest fees and is alone in genuinely causing issues around international tours in terms of availability of players – specifically in England, but also in the Caribbean to some extent.

It is a riot of colour, noise, explosive action and comprises a definite segment of the cricket watcher’s bucket list of events to attend.

So why is it that I just can’t get into it?

Now, there needs to be some disclosure here – I am certainly one of the more old fashioned of cricket fans in that for me Test matches are the pinnacle of the game, which is why there have been so many blogs I’ve done expressing concern and fear for the direction that particular format is heading in, but I’ve always been a cricket tragic, able to stand and watch a club game quite happily, let alone higher levels of the sport.  Equally, I rather like T20 cricket; for all the organisational issues, the treatment of the Associate nations and so forth, the recent World T20 was thoroughly enjoyable to witness.  Test fan or not, the shortest format has plenty to offer a cricket supporter.  It may be disposable, it my not live long in the memory except in exceptional circumstances (Carlos Brathwaite, take a bow), indeed in culinary terms T20 generally has all the appeal of a McDonald’s Meal Deal – you look forward to it, devour it as fast as possible and then feel both sick and guilty in the immediate aftermath.  But you still go back for another a month or two later.  Anyone admitting to more frequency on this needs to have a word with themselves.

Thus it certainly isn’t some kind of inherent disdain for the format, indeed the English domestic T20 tournament is watchable, as the crowds going to it can attest.  Here is not the place to analyse how it could be improved,  or the thorny question of whether city franchise cricket would be a step forward or the onset of the apocalypse, suffice to say it’s part of the season and as such receives attention.

So it could just be parochialism perhaps?  Except that the Big Bash is not too bad, and given that the timezones involved aren’t always terribly friendly to the UK watcher, it still gets me tuning in more than perhaps I expect, especially at the weekend.

OK so, it’s not purely domestic interest.  In fact, the Caribbean Premier League is quite good fun to watch as well, especially given that the scheduling of it means that evening channel hopping can be rewarded with that joyous “oh there’s cricket on” feeling when you come across it.  The ultimate expression of that incidentally is during the New Zealand season, where 9pm means flicking over and these days marvelling at their apparent internal competition to build the most beautiful grounds possible.

But the IPL is by far the biggest and most important of any of these competitions, the one where even if you are being entirely parochial, you can watch the English players and will them to succeed (unless it’s Kevin Pietersen of course, in which case certain sections of the British media and public will be sticking pins into a doll throughout – peculiar, but not surprising).  English players who do go learn a lot, and bring it back into the domestic game – a player in the recent past may have advocated just that – and if you succeed in IPL then you’re on the fast track to both the international level, and indeed all the other T20 tournaments around the world.  It matters, especially to players who need to earn a living.

Of course, franchise cricket struggles to build any kind of affiliation for the teams, despite the weaknesses of county cricket, Premier League football or similar structures, they do at least have the advantage that longevity has lent them; if you’re from a specific county for example, chances are that you have an interest in their progress.  The same does apply to geographically based franchises too, but with a much higher prevalence of shifting around, the emotional bond is going to be more fragile, as might be deemed the case in US sports.  It is still there of course, but for overseas viewers it’s much harder to build in the first place, which makes the support of Premier League football teams from the other side of the world a slightly curious phenomenon.  In that instance, at least they aren’t likely to up sticks to a different city, MK Dons notwithstanding.

Yet active support of a specific side isn’t remotely a requirement to either enjoy a competition or pay close attention to it.  The IPL has everything you could want in a tournament even if you don’t care in the slightest who wins – in that sense it’s the purest of sports enjoyment, in that it’s for its own sake. Certainly it’s highly popular and not just in India.  Friends of mine make a point of watching it, and talk about it on a fairly frequent basis – usually in terms of “Did you see…..” to which the answer is invariably “No”.

Now, this is not to say that the IPL is specifically ignored for those reasons, I couldn’t give a stuff who wins the Big Bash either, and actually I’m not even that fussed who wins the domestic T20 Blast (ugh, what is it with these names?  Marketing departments all too often belong in Dante’s lowest circle of hell) either.  My affiliation to county cricket is, and always has been extremely weak, partly because of mixed county heritage, partly because of a view that the county structure is inherently parasitical both from above and below.  No matter, my opinions don’t coincide with all that many people.

Perhaps above all it is the sheer naked commercialism on display that is the problem.  Sporting events over the last 20 years in particular have become excuses for the already wealthy to become even more wealthy, mostly at the expense of the ordinary fan. It is not sport for the sake of it, it is an excuse to make money.  Certainly the Premier League football has become the plaything of billionaires to the point that mere multi-millionaires struggle to compete on a regular basis, but the history and heritage of the game does lend a degree of respectability to the competition, even if that isn’t really what they deserve, and which they may well lose in years to come.  But the IPL is different in that it was conceived specifically and solely as a means of generating profit and income.  The sport is entirely secondary to that, in fact it’s nothing more than a crutch on which to balance the entire edifice.  I love sport, I adore competition.  I can rationalise and accept the rampant commercialism when it’s buried within the sporting context, no matter how much it leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.  But when the rampant commercialism is the sole purpose for it, that’s harder to do.  The Big Bash is actually no different, except in scale and degree. That scale and degree is probably the only thing that elevates it to paying any kind of attention.

And therein lies the specific problem.  The IPL is the epitome of the theft of sport by vested interests in order to enrich themselves.  The amateurish ineptitude of the ECB has inadvertently lent a slight degree of charm to the English T20 game, one that organisation would walk over hot coals to get rid of.  The Big Bash is simply a lesser IPL and has a degree of attraction more or less solely on that basis – although at least Cricket Australia plough back some of the revenues into the game for the sake of the game.

The IPL takes it to the point where the sport is not just secondary, not just incidental, but where it actually doesn’t matter at all.  It is no more than a fig leaf, nothing else but an abrogation of the central tenet that the sport is in itself the point. And when the sport has no purpose as sport, then there’s no love in it.  All sports need that love of the game.

I have tried, and I have failed.  I’ve watched bits, I’ve seen players do what they can do so brilliantly, and if others can take enjoyment from it, then may it profit them.  But if I cannot care about the game, then I cannot care about the competition. For those that do – enjoy.

 

 

 

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65 thoughts on “Wealth of Nations

  1. Tony Bennett April 20, 2016 / 2:41 pm

    Your final two paras exactly encompass how I feel about it.

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  2. marees April 20, 2016 / 3:16 pm

    my impression is that IPL follows Spanish football model – Franchises bankrolled by as much as money can buy

    Like

    • d'Arthez April 20, 2016 / 3:35 pm

      Actually it is even worse. Part of the spanish model is being paid for by the unwilling and unsuspecting tax payer. Both in Spain as well as other countries in Europe – which was revealed to us, when the economic crisis started to bite there.

      I have not seen anything close to that in India with the IPL. But maybe it is just a matter of time.

      Like

  3. Elaine Simpson-Long April 20, 2016 / 3:33 pm

    I agree with all you say but it is still fun. I watch it just for the pleasure of watching du Plessis, de Villiers, KP, Dhoni, Gayle et al just come out and also have fun.

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  4. Sean B April 20, 2016 / 6:22 pm

    I quite liked the IPL for the first two seasons. It was new, there was a completely different rasmatas to the event and it was completely different to everything on offer with the English T20.

    For me, the reason why my interest has waned to almost non existence, is 2 fold:

    There are so many World T20 competitions, that the IPL is one of a number of similar events vying for my attention – The Bigh Bash, CPL, BPL, PSL and of course the T20 blast (though the odd one out). It feels now like its the same players plating each event but with a new uniform on.

    The corruption and greed. Everyone knew that Indian cricket had corrupt areas, but I certainly didn’t realise just how corrupt the administration is over there. Teams and players are constantly being investigated or suspended that’s it’s hard not to conclude that it’s one big fix. That combined with the BCCI’s determination to flog anything that’s not nailed down, no matter the fan experience, is something the ECB is now trying to copy. Fans no longer count anymore, unless you buy some merchandise!

    I could also add the commentary as well. I’d have more fun inserting red hot spikes in my ears than listening to the banal guff and BCCI hagiographies coming from the ‘commentators’

    Liked by 4 people

    • amit April 20, 2016 / 7:13 pm

      I don’t want to influence your views, but let me try and offer another perspective.

      BCCI has its share of selfish administrators – no less than any other board.
      Indian cricket has also seen its fair share of court cases recently.
      And, I have no doubt that the governance can improve.
      Neither do I doubt the emerging disconnect of fans because of the number of advertisements and the commercialization. These are a major put off.

      But, let’s not assume that BCCI doesn’t care. It does care about its brand, its image and will do all it takes to manage the image of IPL as the premier league.

      The biggest team in the league – CSK – have been banned. Yes, it’s taken the intervention of the legal system but then where else in the world have you seen teams being banned or players being investigated and concrete actions being taken against them at the slightest doubts?
      Players accused of “Fix” as you call it – like Sreesanth have been through a proper legal system and have been sidelined for good.
      It is to the credit of the Indian system, BCCI or otherwise that there is little intolerance of fixing, despite the reputation.

      Quality of commentary is horrible in most leagues where likes of Michael Slater or Danny Morrison thrive. The invisible BCCI hand, or the unwritten edict of “no criticism” does grate but I can’t really recall any commentator openly criticizing any of the boards during any league matches, anywhere. Almost everywhere, the boards are applauded for giving the fans what they ask for – entertainment.

      Sure, IPL has its issues but having seen most T20 leagues operate, I have no doubt that IPL is still in its own league. It offers the most complete combination of good, competitive cricket and entertainment.

      Movie stars, International sporting stars and a cricket crazy audience are not a combination that any other league can match up to. That’s why it remains a cash cow ready to milk.

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      • Sean B April 20, 2016 / 9:18 pm

        Fair enough Amit, always happy to hear different views. I was just trying to give a snapshot of why the IPL doesn’t appeal to me these days (I would also hasten to say like TLG, I’m a bit of a Test match traditionalist). There are 100,000’s who do enjoy the IPL, but I’m afraid it’s lost me as a fan these days.

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      • d'Arthez April 21, 2016 / 6:49 am

        You’re right in the sense that other boards have their issues too. In fact, there is not a single national board of a Full Member nation that I am willing to vouch for. It seems the least incompetent ones is Cricket New Zealand. Zimbabwe Cricket has (had) directors that stole money from the organisation, SLC has severe governance issues. So does the PCB. And the less said about the WICB the better: they are the textbook definition of organisational dysfunction. CSA has its fair share of issues too. Neither SLC, PCB or CSA are helped by the mostly dysfunctional state of government in their respective countries.

        But, you’re presenting a slightly too rosy picture of the wheelings and dealings of the BCCI.

        Slightest doubts? No one in the BCCI (at the time) bothered to care for 5 or 6 years straight. The BCCI kept not caring, until the High Court delivered its damning verdict, nearly two years after the BCCI started an exercise in damage control – because they at least had to give the impression that they actually cared They were still in denial about anything untoward having transpired, and they did not even bother to stick to their own rules, and franchise agreements – the clause of termination could and should have been applied. If it was good enough for several other franchises, then it should have been good enough for RR and CSK.
        Cry me a river for the poor millionaires who had to be bailed out for their own willful stupidity.

        Credit to the legal system, but not so much the BCCI. I also don’t think the ECB should get credit for catching Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir. And the ECB is still in denial about a certain fraudulent Texan billionaire.

        That being said, IPL has really transformed cricketing prospects for domestic players. It has also provided the funds to pay for retirement benefits for players, and those are extremely important in making cricket a viable career option. Domestic cricket is not exactly a source of great wealth, so these steps really help. Investment in infrastructure helps too – provided that not everything ends up going to stadiums, and some of it is spent on cricket at a more grassroot level.

        I fully agree, that the censorship is slightly overblown – in the sense that other boards effectively engage in that as well. Some examples are a bit more blatant than others (credit to Alastair Cook, he at least makes it painfully obvious).

        What was ACSU’s role in enabling this sporting corruption? It has never really been cleared. At the moment I have the impression that they’re more of a PR-unit, than actually trying to root out corruption in cricket.

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  5. Rooto April 20, 2016 / 6:38 pm

    Almost all my cricket comes via ball-by-ball text or the radio (apart from the odd test stream and the World Cups if I can). Commercialism can get stuffed, though I admit it’s not as exciting waiting for cricinfo to refresh as it is watching. I suppose I can’t recommend it to get the kids interested, but it does solve some of those problems you mentioned.

    Like

  6. Philip Chapman April 20, 2016 / 7:50 pm

    Is there a 2020 tournament happening at the moment?
    I don’t have sky, am I missing anything?

    Less sarcastically, talking to my Dad (a reluctant sky subscriber) he said that the ipl is going downhill. The quality has always been mixed, but there is nothing for the bowlers any more which ruins the spectacle.

    Separately, I am still laughing that Cook managed to score a ton in a lid he apparently can’t see out of. Another strop about nothing

    Liked by 2 people

    • marees April 21, 2016 / 12:42 pm

      the bowling talent (in IPL) has gone down the drain. multiple reasons such as:

      1) injuries due to overwork/exposure meaningless matches, donkey’s work etc
      2) no pakistanis, restriction on sri-lankans etc
      3) playing conditions such as small grounds, flat pitches etc.
      4) crack-down on mystery bowlers (aka chuckers)
      5) general decline in bowling talent throughout the world (maybe due to playing less first-class cricket? )
      6) etc, etc..

      only bowlers, who take pace of the ball such as Bravo & Mustafizur have thrived. I love these 2 guys, but watching such matches is like watching a scrappy match between Chelsea & Arsenal and not a fast-paced attacking game between Liverpool & Manchester United

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  7. jennyah46 April 20, 2016 / 7:58 pm

    It’s the final two paragraphs that are the crux of this. I agree with every word written. A great post. Well done.

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  8. Tuffers86 April 20, 2016 / 8:57 pm

    The IPL has been fine up until this edition. It’s issues are threefold.

    1) I think everyone was expecting it to hit a saturation point after a fairly reasonable World T20. There’s been no break from it.

    2) I think the BCCI is at its lowest ebb. It’s pretty tricky juggling court rulings and losing CSK. They didn’t help themselves with Harsha being asked not to commentate. He’s not to my taste, but he’s head and shoulders above those cretinous Australians on the comms.

    3) The match situations are not helping. Tonight saw the 13th out of 14th successful run chase. When it becomes a procession, it’s got to sting a little.

    One point from me:

    I’m still unconvinced by the standards of some of these imports. There’s far too many Australians stealing a living in this competition. If Moises Henriques was the overseas for my county, I’d feel short changed.

    But it is each to their own. I watch a bit, but it’s not been gripping.

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    • d'Arthez April 21, 2016 / 6:07 am

      That is not entirely fair on Henriques. IPL franchises can have 10 foreigners on their payrolls. County teams can have far fewer and a bunch of dual citizens. Needless to say, that if you have 80 foreigners, not all can be global superstars.

      But pray tell me, which county has signed AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli, Ayinka Rahane, David Warner, Steven Smith or even Morne Morkel for the Blast? The counties already end up with mostly second rate foreigners for their T20 competition. Or are Michael Klinger (2nd in the runcharts of the Blast) Richard Levi (5th), Jacques Rudolph (7th), Ashwell Prince (9th) global superstars? Is Rory Kleinveldt a global superstar?

      It is not like the IPL franchises are hiring the Karl Browns of the world (and admittedly he had a decent Blast last year).

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Mark April 20, 2016 / 11:38 pm

    It’s interesting the point about sport and money. In the 19 th century they used to put on cricket matches for money. These cricket money matches were nakedly commercial. But here is the difference. There was no TV. So the paying fan at the gate was the real customer. He either cared or he didn’t hand over his hard earned.

    But who is paying today in the age of TV? Well people like me who have a Sky subscription. But then again, if sky hadn’t got the the TV rights would my Sky subscription go down in price? The answer is no. It would be exactly the same. So in a way I am paying for it, but in a way I’m not. In the bizarre world of TV contracts, do people who pay for the family package or the film package know they are paying for IPL cricket? Who knows? We are all paying and we are all not paying. If you see what I mean? Problem is, it leads to a kind of …..”who gives a toss?”

    And then you have the even more problematic area of adverts, and what is the point of any sporting event? Increasingly every event is about selling product. IPL, Super Bowl, whatever? Try to watch a major football match today and not be distracted by flashing advert hoardings. What is more important? The game or the adverts? Again the people that matter judge it all by only one criteria….how much product has been shifted.

    And don’t even get me started on Formula 1. How can any sport be owned by one man? I have always been suspicious of any sport where the kit is more important than the human being. I once had a major argument (in a cricket dressing room funnily enough) with a team mate who was a great F1 fan. We argued like cat and dog. Eventually he said if I went to one of the races, and heard the noise and the buzz, I would realize it’s a “fantastic spectacle. ”

    My reply was “so is Trooping the colour, and that’s not a sport either, but it is a great spectacle.” IPL is a great spectacle. I’ll leave it at that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Grumpy Gaz April 21, 2016 / 7:10 am

      Well F1 is like horse racing just who can build the best car rather than who can breed the fastest horse. You’ll want a top jockey on the horse but does it really matter which one?

      However, while in F1 the true competition is between the car builders, with the possible exception of Ferrari, fans tend to support the drivers rather than be tied to a team. The constructors championship is the one that really matters but the driver’s championship gets far more coverage. The sport is all about the kit and the human interaction comes from the team who build, service and drive the kit.

      With IPL or Big Bash the problem is who do you support? It’s like F1, you go with who your favourite cricketers are playing for but then the next season they have a different team. That makes it hard to form any kind of attachment to the competition and that means you tend to have a bit of interest in a particular match outcome but don’t really give a toss who wins it overall.

      On Sky I’m going to be a bit controversial. Sky put a lot of effort into their sports coverage. For golf they cover all the European tour matches and provide coverage from the US tour, along with the WGC matches as well. Then up until recently the BBC comes along and demands exclusive rights to the Open when they show maybe three golf tournaments a year. If the BBC actually got to show the Ashes again, would they? Would they show all of the play from every match? I doubt it very much, they didn’t even provide proper coverage of the final day of last years Open.

      I’d love to see test matches and 20/20 on terrestrial TV again because without it the sport will go the way of boxing. But exclusivity is the problem. Neither Sky nor terrestrial stations would be happy sharing coverage. Streaming of individual events for a small price may be the way ahead but it has to be a reasonable. Sky tried it back in the day with F1 but for £15 a race which was never going to happen.

      The way sport is divided up on TV is bonkers from a fan perspective but makes the most money from the providers. Having half the Premiership matches on Sky and half on BT is not giving the consumer a choice. Having all the matches on both and having them compete on price is what should happen.

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      • Mark April 21, 2016 / 11:11 am

        I thought my dig at F1 would get a response. Can’t stand it I’m afraid.

        Exclusivity is the enemy of competition. Because the only bit of the process thats competitive freezes out the consumer. If I want to buy a product from a shop there may be many outlets or Internet sources I can choose from. Also, I can choose not just on price, but also quality of service. Exclusivity keeps the pesky customer out of the process. This is just how the big boys like it. Because they hate consumer competition. As JP Morgan said a hundred years ago……”competition is a sin, it’s bad for business.”

        This anti competive process is creeping more and more into our life’s. Private company’s that run rail franchises or hospitals don’t have to compete on service, on a day to day basis. As you say….. let a number of broadcasters have it, and let them compete against each other. Nah, never going to happen. The days of the BBC and ITV having the cup final at the same time and the viewer choosing which they prefer are gone forever.

        I have mixed views about letting BT have some of the premiership coverage. If you don’t allow this you end up with one dominat player Sky who control everything and make a fortune with no competition . On the other hand, if you allow another broadcaster into the process the customer has to pay for two subscriptions. Although I notice Sky customers didn’t have a problem when Sky were taking BT broadband business in a competive market. Now the boots on the other foot they are whining.

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      • thelegglance April 21, 2016 / 11:21 am

        The mechanics around what eventually became BT creating a sports channel stem from the European Commission’s decision concerning competition. It was, to say the least, a peculiar reading of it, based on the Premier League. They insisted that contracts must be divided between at least two companies, rather than Sky getting it all. What they didn’t take into account, and where they received lots of criticism, is that the essence of competition law is to be fair to consumers, not artificially fair to companies. The result was that instead of a single company buying up rights, you now have two, driving up the price of contracts and thus requiring two subscriptions where previously only one was needed.

        As a result, Sky have lost a bunch of rights (notably the Champions League) without ever offering lower pricing to consumers for their lesser packages.

        In this instance, it isn’t actually the providers who are at fault, it is the totally skewed thinking of the European Commission that led to even more rampant contract inflation than was already present.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mark April 21, 2016 / 11:50 am

        Hmm…..

        But if you just have one private company as you did when Sky first came along in the subscription market the price never falls. I have been with Sky since it’s inception and never once has my subscription year on year been reduced. Sky were quite happy to put up the price while attacking BT in the broad band field were they compete customer to customer. If Sky customers don’t want to see the games on BT they don’t have to pay for them. They just don’t see them. That was the same argument Sky made to BBC and ITV customers when they took sport from terrestrial broadcasters. ” if you don’t want to pay you don’t have to.” But you go with out.

        I just think competition law is meaningless in TV rights deals where you have so few players who can afford to play in that market. It is not a free market, it is massively cross subsidised. How much money is used by Sky from those who don’t subscibe to the sports package , but subscibe to movies and other box set packages to sport? How is it a free market that Sky can heavily cross promote its products through Murdoch owned newspapers? It’s a mine field.

        A genuine free market is where Sky and BT show matches on a match by match basis and The consumer chooses which firm he buys from. Like Tesco, or Asda, or Sainsburys. And I can change on a daily basis. I’m not locked into a twelve month contract.

        All BT have done is offer their broadband customers a sports channel. Sky were quite happy to have sports channels, and then offer their customers broadband services. I am slightly alarmed that people who claim to believe in competion seem to prefer a private monopoly in Sky providing everything , and everyone else going to the wall.

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      • AB April 21, 2016 / 12:06 pm

        There are numerous problems with the current set-up. Sky operate a huge number of anti-competitive practices, but unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be the will power in government to do anything about it. (Read http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/18/opinion/robber-baron-recessions.html?ref=opinion&_r=1).

        BT entered the market in a hopelessly incompetent and haphazard way. They could have totally buried sky if they had done some sensible market research, but they totally ballsed it up. It was a complete disaster.

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      • thelegglance April 21, 2016 / 12:07 pm

        The subscription price doesn’t fall (well not until their declared profits reach the point where the OFT and CC step in anyway) but neither does the price of rights go through the roof – that was the flaw in the EC’s thinking, and why they actually stepped outside what they should be doing.

        I will confess to considerable amusement that Sky apparently thought going after BT’s core market of telephony would be without consequence. Essentially, they tried to steal the business of a much bigger, much more profitable company, and BT’s response – to in turn go after Sky’s own core business – was entirely predictable.

        Liked by 1 person

      • thelegglance April 21, 2016 / 12:12 pm

        AB – I’m a little surprised you think BT have been incompetent here. Most of the sports rights were tied up in long term deals, not that many of them have come up in the time they’ve been around, and those that are they have tended to win. From their long term perspective, they’re doing it well – Sky’s problem, and thus the consumer problem, is that to try to defend their position they’ve had to make silly offers, and their pockets just aren’t as deep.

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      • SimonH April 21, 2016 / 12:37 pm

        Does anyone know what proportion of Sky’s (or BT’s) subscriptions are from institutions (i.e. pubs and clubs) and what from households?

        It seems to be the current model of two “competing” providers is one very much based on the fact that institutions will pay for both. As I understand it, the broadcasters prosecute (and to the nth degree) any pubs/clubs showing foreign streams. This is despite the European Court ruling in favour of pubs/clubs being able to do so:

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3021321/Pub-landlord-wins-eight-year-battle-overturn-conviction-showing-football-foreign-channels.html

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      • Mark April 21, 2016 / 12:42 pm

        AB thanks for that link to the NYT article. Very interesting. Yes corporate monopoly is becoming a huge problem to improving service for the customer. They used to have anti trust laws in the US but since Reagan they dont enforce them.

        It’s the bit of Adam Smith his supporters don’t lie to talk about. They like to write articles about the “invisible hand, ” but the bit about (left to their own devices the capitalist will rigg the system ) they don’t like to dwell on. We have become a rentier model economy. High profits, and low costs for the corporates and little competition to spend those profits on improving the service. Monopoly rules ok!

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      • thelegglance April 21, 2016 / 12:43 pm

        That decision was one of those that says one thing in principle, but another in practice. Yes, they have the right to show them, but because you have the various logos on the screen, they can’t do so without paying for that. So in effect it stops them.

        Incidentally, when Sky first got the cricket rights they made a point along with the ECB of saying that there would be discounted packages for clubs to show it, and therefore clubs would be the heart of the community where all those without Sky could go and watch it.

        And the discount? Miniscule off the full pub rate, which by the way is around £1,000 a month. This bit is old hat and the press ignore it, but put bluntly, Sky and the ECB thoroughly misled everyone by talking about this at the time, the impression was that they would give clubs the same rate as domestic Sky subscriptions. A lie? Not quite. They didn’t explicitly say this is what they would do, but they allowed that impression to form.

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      • marees April 21, 2016 / 12:49 pm

        I think SKY’s cricket coverage is being subsidized by the footie fans because of whom SKY is able to demand a premium subscription fee.

        in USA boxing matches are shown live as pay-per-view and tournament or match-by-match subscription packages were also available for events such as cricket world-cup. Does SKY have equivalent packages too?

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  10. "IronBalls" McGinty April 21, 2016 / 8:58 am

    Being one of the disenfranchised, I can’t say if’s breaking my heart anymore that I can’t watch cricket on tv. The IPL was shit on ITV 4, but at least I could watch it and make my own mind up.
    I agree around the principle of sport, that it is competitive interest available for all to participate in, or watch..or at least that’s how it used to be…now it’s all about the have’s and have not’s.
    The have’s can watch and be inspired, the have not’s (the vast majority I would posit) can lump it!!
    It’s the perfect storm in the making, in my opinion, and not far off the day when some little kid turns to his Dad and says ” Sport? What’s that Dad?”

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  11. Mark April 21, 2016 / 11:58 am

    In other news http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci-icc/content/story/1000937.html

    The ICC are going to look at the idea of making tests matches, and ODIs and 20/20 series all locked together in a points system. Like the woman did for the Ashes. And what the ECB want for this years tru nations series. Strauss is on board. Thinks it will help spread the appeal of test cricket.

    How about other things like make pitches of better quality? Encourage fast bowlers back into test cricket? How about price structures, and TV rights? Nah, none of those. Just create a points system supposedly giving meaning to every game. Who picks up the trophy Morgan or Cook?

    Liked by 2 people

    • RufusSG April 21, 2016 / 9:39 pm

      Agree wholeheartedly with most of this – I don’t really see the point either – but is there really a fast bowler shortage? There are tons of quality seamers, young and old, going around at the moment.

      Like

    • thelegglance April 22, 2016 / 9:38 am

      I don’t think it’s the worst idea – the women’s Ashes works well under that system.

      However, whenever they come up with a reasonable idea, it’s like the archetypal dog walking on its hind legs. It may not be done well, but you are surprised to find it done at all.

      Like

  12. AB April 21, 2016 / 2:14 pm

    The IPL is bad for so many different reasons.

    The quality of the cricket is generally very poor, particularly the fielding, its so obviously, painfully commercial, the commentary is all but unlistenable, its nauseatingly overhyped and up its own arse, I have absolutely no interest in or connection to any of the teams, who seem to swap players seemingly at random, and you just can’t help but get the feeling the whole thing is scripted more tightly than a WWE bout.

    Give me the NWB any day of the week. I’d far, far, far rather watch baseball than the IPL.

    Like

  13. SimonH April 21, 2016 / 6:34 pm

    It’s been a while since some ‘good journalism’ but here we go:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/cricket/article-3550546/England-set-shake-order-ahead-Test-against-Sri-Lanka-Headingley.html

    Must be nice for Compton and Hales to read they are getting the chop after one match between them this season – and that their supposedly ear-marked replacement is rated by Cooky so doesn’t need to do anything so vulgar as score runs (let alone D1 runs).

    Like

    • Mark April 21, 2016 / 7:40 pm

      I think I’m going to start calling Cook the chief selector. He was banging on about all the so called batting vacancies that have suddenly opened up like the Red Sea a few weeks ago. Now that you know who has been sent off forever to play 29/20 suddenly no one in the test team is safe.

      Like

      • Escort April 21, 2016 / 8:55 pm

        Let’s no forget that Cook was including James Taylor in his after tour observations about places up for grabs until recent events took over.

        Like

  14. RufusSG April 21, 2016 / 9:34 pm

    Reports are suggesting that Peter Moores, believe it or not, is one of the favourites to be the next coach of Pakistan. Might his style find success with a different team?

    Like

    • Mark April 22, 2016 / 12:16 am

      That’s a very odd fit. Mr laptop in charge of probably the most natural, shoot from the hip team in world cricket.

      Opposites attract, so they say.

      Liked by 1 person

      • SimonH April 22, 2016 / 7:51 am

        Pakistan’s Test team is doing very well and wouldn’t seem to need much doing differently (unless they want some inside-track on England for the forthcoming tour).

        Their one-day side is what an incoming coach needs to sort out. Moores’ one-day record is….. er, not very good.

        Like

      • Mark April 22, 2016 / 9:35 am

        The Ministry of truth?

        I wish I had faith that the ECB would not do the same. Of course they would not be so obvious. But when you watch David Gower and Nasser for the last 2 years it’s like George Orwells 1984.

        Like

    • thelegglance April 22, 2016 / 9:40 am

      Manohar does (so far) appear to be something of a breath of fresh air for the game. I know us cynics are waiting for either the real agenda to come out or for him to be disappeared by the vested interests, but maybe he’s the real deal. Maybe.

      Like

      • SimonH April 22, 2016 / 9:54 am

        A new revenue-sharing deal will be the acid test…..

        Like

      • thelegglance April 22, 2016 / 9:59 am

        Indeed. However there are so many vested interests ranged against….him? Maybe. Us, definitely. Anyway, given that, I rather suspect that the kind of result we’d all like to see is probably out of reach, which doesn’t mean it won’t get strongly criticised on the blogs (probably not the newspapers overly) when it comes out. But for me that acid test will be whether he gets a vaguely reasonable revenue sharing deal through, or whether he doesn’t try, or when he doesn’t succeed how much is achieved along those lines.

        Like

      • Mark April 22, 2016 / 10:07 am

        I can’t see the Indian board putting up with it for too long. And if they start to complain you can bet the other two members of the big 3 will join them.

        Good luck to him, but he is facing an uphill task. Hopefully some of the more saner people at the big 3 realise that if you run down every other cricket nation you won’t have anyone to play against outside the 3 nations. In the long run that doesn’t put bums on seats.

        Like

      • SimonH April 22, 2016 / 10:33 am

        The last revenue-pillaging (I wouldn’t call it sharing) arrangement was so iniquitous that there is quite a lot of room to come up with a better deal that would still leave India much better off than they were before.

        I’m not necessarily looking for a return to the status quo ante. I’m not sure it was justified that NZ got the same as Bangladesh, for example. I’m not against the ICC extracting more in return for their money (members should account for where the money’s gone and have to prove they are actively raising their own revenue).

        The treatment of Pakistan and Bangladesh (who were the real big losers in the power-grab) will be what I’ll be looking out for. Plus what happens below the FMs of course.

        Like

  15. SimonH April 22, 2016 / 8:20 am

    Just to prove there really is an ICC meeting taking place today:

    The DT awakens from its recent cricketing slumbers to cover it:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/cricket/2016/04/21/icc-debate-test-cricket-revamp-to-save-long-form-cricket/

    The Guardian has naff all – although Selvey may be penning another piece indicting others of “parochialism” at this very moment.

    Like

  16. SimonH April 22, 2016 / 8:24 am

    Nick Hoult:

    “Giles Clarke’s hopes of becoming the board’s next chairman are over…. Clarke’s hopes of becoming the ICC chairman are at an end after he failed to gain enough support to sustain a campaign. Instead it looks increasingly likely the current chairman, Shashank Manohar, from India, will carry on in the role and will be elected unopposed if he agrees to stand. It is understood Clarke will ­remain as president of the England and Wales Cricket Board, representing the board at ICC level. Manohar has won support among many nations by stating he will cut the amount of funding India receive from the central pool”.

    Like

    • Mark April 22, 2016 / 8:52 am

      Good news about Clarke, although he is still the ECBs representative at the ICC which is disappointing.

      As for the test championship I have expressed my doubts before. Make the cricket better, by creating better pitches and encouraging fast bowlers and good spin bowlers back into the game. However the money genie of 20/20 is out of the bottle, and can’t be put back. And with some boards treating their players like shit many players will be happy to earn a living outside the control of national boards.

      At least the new guy seems to understand the folly of taking more money from the non big 3. The fact that the ICC are having a meeting about saving Test cricket after the big 3 stitch up is an indictment of that policy. Giles Clarke should offer his resignation along with a number of others. Including Mike Selvey. (No wonder he is not covering it)

      Finally, I notice a lot of coverage for the “it’s health and safety gone mad” brigade. Botham, Boycott and others have come out to do their rants about political correctness gone mad routine. Now, they may have a point. However, I can’t help thinking the media is using this to prop up captain fantastics position.

      Also, I seem to remember Botham saying he didn’t like practice nets because he found them un safe. Didn’t that play a part in the refusal to do naughty boy nets in the WI in the famous tour that Dmitri has been writing about lately?

      Could that not be seen as a form of political correctness gone mad? Although no doubt that would be seems as personal freedom, and choice. It’s a health and safety minefield.

      Like

    • thelegglance April 22, 2016 / 9:42 am

      I would write a longer response, but my tears and distress over poor Giles are just too much. Oh woe! Oh perfidy! Oh for shame!

      Like

      • Mark April 22, 2016 / 10:03 am

        I wouldn’t shed a tear if I was you. Also he can fall back on his oil interests in South America now. Although with oil trading at its current price maybe you should cry a tear for Giles.

        Nah, he will be back soon enough. Perhaps he would like to take over snooker from Barry Hearn?

        Like

      • Zephirine April 22, 2016 / 4:51 pm

        Shame he didn’t get into F1, I understand one person can own the whole sport.

        Like

      • SimonH April 22, 2016 / 5:21 pm

        Let’s celebrate with another one of the apparently inexhaustible supply of photos of him looking like a twit:

        Like

      • Mark April 22, 2016 / 7:18 pm

        Monty Python did the upper class twit of the year contest. All the contestants looked like that.

        ” and he just has to fire the pistol to win…..oh OH he’s shot himslef!”

        Like

    • Keeper99 (@PaulKeeper99) April 22, 2016 / 7:42 pm

      Lovely piece of writing, thanks for sharing.

      I was making progress with Wisden but it’s on one side as I have been diverted by Simon Jones’ autobiography which is great fun so far.

      I feel the Downton/Lazenby comparisons are a tad harsh. Whatever his faults, Lazenby’s OHMSS stands tall as a credible Bond movie.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Tregaskis April 23, 2016 / 9:26 am

        Thank you for reading it, Paul, and for your comment.

        The thing about the Mirror quote is it’s just too good to miss in fleshing out Dobell’s Downton gag! I was not strong enough to resist its pull!

        Like

    • Rooto April 22, 2016 / 4:04 pm

      Thanks for that link Simon. It seems the return is on track for Monty personally, though maybe not for all of us dreaming about a stellar season and a tour of India.
      The article also mentions Sean Terry, ex of your team Hants. Paul Terry’s son?

      Like

      • moggahooller April 23, 2016 / 9:28 pm

        S P Terry is indeed Paul Terry’s son. Bit of a surprise when he left but I hope he gets another county

        Like

    • d'Arthez April 22, 2016 / 7:34 pm

      In a cruel twist of irony, it seems Kevin Pietersen (he who had mentioned injury management concerns before) has sustained a serious injury while batting today. Hope he recovers soon.

      Like

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