Yesterday, the ECB announced who won the broadcast rights to English cricket from 2020 to 2024. To no one’s surprise, the winners were Sky Sports and the BBC. The BBC will have up to 21 live T20 games plus international highlights and both radio coverage and online clips for all English cricket. Sky Sports have the rights for literally everything else to do with English cricket, as they do now. According to the Guardian’s Ali Martin, the new deals are worth around £1.1bn over 5 years or £220m per year, compared to the current deals of around £75m per year.
The Counties – Barely two months ago, the counties signed away the majority of their bargaining power in exchange for £23.4m of a projected £40m increase in income from the new T20 league. Now it seems increasingly likely that, had they held off for another few months, they could easily have received twice as much just from keeping the same county structure as before. The ECB and Tom Harrison successfully made the counties so desperate by holding back their money that they voted themselves into pointlessness.
BT Sport – This could have been a massive coup for BT Sport, but the odds always seemed stacked against them. The ECB have a very close relationship with Sky Sports so BT were always at a disadvantage. BT can at least console themselves that they have pushed Sky to arguably overpay for cricket rights, meaning Sky might have less money to spend on other sports in the future.
Channel 5 – The FTA channel which has shown England’s highlights on Freeview for over a decade, they probably have good reason to feel snubbed that they weren’t seriously considered as the home for England’s free coverage from 2020. It’s rumoured that they bid more than the BBC too, rubbing salt into the wound.
The Fans – At the end of the day, every TV and sponsorship deal in sport is about taking money from the fans and giving it to the sport/players with the TV companies and sponsors making some profit as well. If more money is being paid, you can bet that costs will increase for fans somehow.
The ECB/Tom Harrison – By almost every measure, these guys won. They achieved almost 90% of their £250m/year target, got the BBC as an active partner in promoting the sport generally and specifically the new T20 league, and they successfully neutered the counties so they probably won’t have to share most of the money with them. Whatever you think about these people (and seeing as you’re on this site, we can probably guess), this is a spectacular victory for them.
Sky Sports – They get to remain gatekeepers of English cricket, although they have paid quite a lot for the privilege. With reports on Tuesday that Sky were looking to rebrand Sky Sports 2 as Sky Sports Cricket (to go with the current Sky Sports F1 and planned Sky Sports Football and Golf channels), it suggested they were pretty confident about winning the rights from the ECB.
The BBC – The BBC got the rights to 21 live T20 games plus TV/online highlights and radio commentary at a fraction of the market value due to their massive reach. They have the most popular UK TV channels, radio stations and news website, and since Sky presumably offered more than enough money the ECB could afford to offer the BBC a discount.
Women’s Cricket – Of the 21 live T20 games the BBC will have rights for, 9 of them will be of women’s cricket; 1 T20I and 8 games from the Super League. The BBC also have the rights to show highlights of England women’s other internationals. Whilst a cynic might suggest that some of these will end up on the Red Button or streaming online, it’s still a massive increase in exposure for this side of the sport.
The Players – With such a massive increase in income, it’s a fair bet that the players will be getting a significant pay rise over the next few years. The relationship between the ECB and the PCA seems very amicable (too amicable, some might say) so a situation like Cricket Australia are having to deal with seems unlikely. That said, if the players don’t think they’re getting a fair share there could easily be a revolt.
Did I miss anyone out? As always, comments are welcome below.
Good summary, thanks. I haven’t noticed how far the BBC is obliged to broadcast the matches live, which is of course pretty vital – ‘after Newsnight’ is not a good look for cricket. It all seems quite wait-and-see, but so far looks like a victory for Harrison and Graves.
Very interesting that Sky is doing dedicated channels. This is great for people like me who only follow very few sports, but of course it enables them to see which sports really aren’t pulling in the money.
Meanwhile, Joe Root has done a trailer for Sky in which he looks utterly miserable and sounds worse, it makes Cook seem positively manic by comparison. Morgan needs to give Root some media training, fast.
And Barney Ronay has written a piece for the Guardian which I advise you not to read till after your third cup of coffee. It’s all about how people don’t love Alastair Cook enough.
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Some low-lights from Ronay:
” The last two years of Alastair Cook’s time as England captain were fretful at times, marked by scratchiness, defeats and some elbow-gnawing press conferences”
All entirely self-inflicted as Cook could have resigned the captaincy at any moment. On the contrary, he gave every impression that he believed only he could do the job.
“Cook is a good man”.
“Through this Cook has been revered, admired and enjoyed… it may be the gift of late Cook to be loved a little too”.
Where has this lack of love been? It certainly hasn’t been from the TV commentary box, the press box or senior administrators. It’s that horrible social media again (which Cook doesn’t read).
“For Cook this has been a rare golden summer, with six hundreds in all formats and a strong suggestion that Cook 3.0 may just be ripe for a Gooch-like late career surge”.
Maybe – but he scored a stack of CC runs in 2014 before the Tests too. Could we wait until he’s scored some Test runs?
“He certainly deserves a little love at the end of 11 gruelling years with England”. (one of several references to how tough Cook has had it)
Cook has batted 253 times in Tests, more I think than any other opener. But he has not had to play much other cricket compared to many other openers – he has 459 f/c innings to Hayden’s 515, Atherton’s 584, Hutton’s 814, Greenidge’s 889, Gooch’s 990 and Boycott’s 1014. In white-ball cricket, he has batted 187 times to Atherton’s 279, Boycott’s 302, Hayden’s 349, Greenidge’s 436 and Gooch’s 601. Cook undoubtedly works hard at his fitness and his skill against the short ball has helped him avoid injury. He’s also had some good fourtune and plays in an era of improved medical support.
“the check-drive hard-run three through a vacant mid-on at 11.45am on a grey English Thursday morning, 20 minutes since the last run with the ball nibbling and ducking, and skies closing in, stands hushed by the sound of 20,000 people afraid to shift or blink”.
This is a variation on the ‘it’s so hard opening in English conditions’ argument. I won’t prove yet again that this isn’t true (SA and WI were harder places to open in the last decade). NOC liked to point out that Tres managed to average 50 in the same English conditions. In Cook’s time, the early season Tests have been against some poor attacks that can’t exploit any seaming conditions they might get (which with modern drainage isn’t that much anyway). What great Cook innings in seaming conditions against a class attack like Gooch’s 154* (or his 135 against Pakistan) comes to mind? I can’t think of one.
“It has been said that Cook has built a great career out of only three shots”.
This is one of the most annoying cliches in cricket. It’s origins lies (surprise, surprise!) with Mike Selvey. Selvey wrote it about Border – it was garbage about Border, it is garbage about Cook and it is garbage about any Test-class batsman. Cook can leg-glance, Cook can sweep, Cook can slog-sweep, Cook can off-drive (quite fluently when he’s in form).
“And without him, what have we got left? Look down the list of runs scored among those still active. Cook is up there foraging away in 10th on 11,057. Next up, but miles back and 34 years old, is Hashim Amla”.
Partly this is because there has been a changing of the guard with some recent retirements. But, jeez, will they ever grasp that it is also to do with the volume of games different teams play? Why are the English press corps so unable to understand this basic point?
“Cook is the last marker out there”.
In truth, many teams have a specialist Test opening batsman still (Elgar, Renshaw, Latham, Vijay, Brathwaite, Karunaratne).
Overall, I’m reminded of something LCL wrote a couple of years back. We’re not allowed to just like Cook, respect him, think he’s very good – we must adore him, revere him, love him. Ronay’s trying a new angle – “Test cricket, c’est Chef”. It isn’t.
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Barney Ronay is right. I don’t love Cook, and I NEVER FRIGGING will. For me he is the most overrated sportsman in English sport. And that is saying something amongst the deluge of eulogising bullshit that passes for pundirty these days.
And as for a his captains ability? don’t get me started. One of the worst. We won test matches DESPITE his captaincy not because of it. Name me a single test match he won because he was captain?
“Cook is a good man” ……..So that is the standard now is it? Despite the list of evidence that contradicts that claim…….Including his sulking, and his put downs of fellow players and those that ever dare to say the Emperor has no cloths. , and his snide remarks about his sacking from the ODI team. ( A team by the way he should never have been given the captaincy of.)
I can never love an international sportsman who puts his endless school scores on his wickipedia page. Perhaps his admiring chums did it. But it looks terrible.
“And without him, what have we got left? Look down the list of runs scored among those still active.”
So we might as well abandon the whole game then when he retires? Someone better tell the ECB, who have just sold the rights of cricket until 2024 for a small fortune that if Cook retires the game is finished. Do Sky know?
I had hoped this long endless quest to force us love him would end when he gave up the caprptiancy. Alas It seems the misery will continue.
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I haven’t read it, but I’m always wary of pieces telling me how to think about someone. Cook has had a magic carpet ride from the press, the sort I think I’ve seen no other player get. It still amazes me that press types think they can change our views by telling us that we, in effect, don’t understand. It really is as if no part of the blame for 2013/14 Ashes or 2015 World Cup was down to him. At all.
And it still goes on.
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Cook would have been better served if the press had treated him normally, and not tried to convince everyone he was a god. He isn’t, and it’s just made him look riddiculos. The ECB has to take some of the blame for this too.
The media have done him no favours with the constant demands that we all worship him. People don’t like being sold a pup, and as you say…told what to think.
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Whenever I read a piece on Cook, I remember the comments on this post.
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I think the separate channels is suicide. Or at least mad. At this moment in time you can’t actually be sure what channel your sport(s) will be on, so I buy the whole shebang. Now I will probably drop football, but it’s even more up its own arse, and the media is even more stupid, that I’ve got totally fed up with it. If you think the commentary of Nick Knight drives me mad, the interviewing of Geoff Shreve will probably lead to me having a stroke.
So now I say, do I pay for the cricket channel? Do I pay for the golf channel? Or do I just leave them be? Do I pay for the channel that has the NFL? Suddenly I get to opt out, probably pay less. I think its crackers.
I’ve not read Ronay yet. It’s the anniversary of my mum’s death and I’m always a bit iffy on this day. Best leave it. I’m getting the flavour from others.
Personally, I’ve never had Sky Sports as I couldn’t justify spending £34-£50/month pretty much just to watch cricket. If I could pay about £100 for 5-6 months cricket I’d at least consider it. That assumes the £18/month price quoted in the article, and that the separate channels are available on NowTV.
On a slightly related matter….
He’s not wrong. Given the way the attendances have fallen for finals, make it £20 a head. I might have given it my time. You’d need to save that cash to be able to eat or drink anything at that rip-off.
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Is Bayliss seeing Mark Stoneman now?
I haven’t even had a good rant about the selection of Gary Ballance at No.3 yet….
It seems like a lot of people are implying that Bayliss still isn’t familiar with English county players. Root might have been pushing for Ballance and Flower pushing for Dawson. All speculation, of course.
Danny, Bayliss said he’d never seen Stoneman so it isn’t speculation.
I’m sure you’re right about Root/Ballance and the Dawson selection is so weird I can’t even begin to comtemplate it…..
Wow, there are a lot of empty white seats. Although Sky are doing a good job trying to hide them. Remember when a big final at Lords would sell out? Not anymore, and one of the finalists is only from the other side of the Thames. The change in Cricket in the last 5-10 years has been immense.
Stand by for lectures about if you went to see Adele at Wembley how much you would pay for a ticket. Speaking of which, she has had to cancel tonight’s show. Her voice has gone. She only has about 80 million followers on Twitter. The kind of PR problem cricket can only dream of.
You do your rant about Ballance, I’ll do my rant about the imminent selection for all Tests of Duminy. Because South Africa really do need an allrounder who can hardly bat and goes for 6+ / over.
Yes or do tickets for after the innings break when not a sell out; at the Middx v Yorks ‘final’ in the Championship last season the crowd grew by several thousand in the afternoon.
As for broadcasters doing reach, a near general silence from the twitterati on the availability of tickets yesterday, maybe they are conflicted by keeping advertisers happy/simply not fussed personally. Strategically it looks like managed decline of the competition.
Of course from 2020 the One Day Cup will be a 2nd XI competition held during the T20 league. Not really worth trying to fix now. What would be the point?
Just guesswork but it could work like this. Sky loses from someone like me who will pay for just cricket and bin my current sports subs. They gain in two areas. First, those who don’t currently pay for extra channel packages may do so for one specialist channel of interest. Second, the sports fanatics who want it all end up paying for more in total.
My plan was to stop Sky Sports after this summer and pay BT for the Ashes, and play it by ear after that. I stream all football and can pay for a golf channel for a week every two years. I’ll never pay for two TV sports subs.
The ECB are no longer the governing body of English cricket anymore. They are the new owners of the game. They have acquired it from the rest of us through the incompetence of the counties. They don’t run the game for the game itself, they run it as a business for themselves.
The county chairman were like Chamberlain returning from Munich… “I have in my hand a piece of paper” …..They got played big time. And now they will whine and moan about how they need more money. They may get thrown a few scraps to shut them up, but they couldn’t run a piss up in a brewery. What’s more it might get much worse for them if the new 20/20 is a success, and they see all that money going to the new franchise outfits. There is going to be a lot of nashing of teeth….”could of, should of, what might have been?” Too late suckers!
It may be that the players and the board can keep the peace for the time being, but I sense a whiff of dictatorship in the air. The ECB now control the big money, and the rights to the new 20/20 domestic bonanza. (The counties gave it away for a few pieces of silver) That means they can control who plays, and more importantly who doesn’t. Would a KP figure be allowed to play in that compettion if the ECB are controlling it?
We have Cricket Australia begining to make noises about stopping players from playing outside of their control. It seems the owners of cricket don’t like the idea of the workers going freelance. Takes away the elites control. And if players can’t go freelance they will have to knuckle down, and take what scaps their boards give them. There is it seems, a concerted effort by the governing bodies to recapture the new private franchise cricket. This will stop players from freeing themselves from their boards. Very early days in all of this, but a confrontation down the line could be coming. What is clear is the new owners of cricket world wide very much enjoy total control. Whaich this space.
I’m not sure that’s any different than the situation from the past 10 years or so? The PCA has had a massively sycophantic relationship to the ECB in this time, glad for whatever money came their way. Even the ECB took down the “outside cricket” statement from their website a year or so ago, but it’s still there on the PCA’s site.
You’d hope that commentary doesn’t become like in India, basically cheerleaders for the BCCI, but you can’t rule it out either. The ECB is now in a much stronger financial position so it will probably try to influence people to not criticise them in public.
The PCA were used as useful idiots during the KP saga. They were signatories, as Danny says, of the Outside Cricket memo. A press release so unremittingly dreadful, so legendary in its tone deafness, that someone went overboard and named a site after it. The PCA were never going to be taken seriously by me from then on, and the on-screen manifestation of the Tufty Club’s magazine, has done little to reassure me. If they told him to jump, he’d ask how high.
Then there was the “back Cook” campaign in that summer. The one that had no test hundreds, but a 95. Oh, what a 95. It would be nice to think that the PCA would ride to the rescue of other players subjected to scrutiny like Cook was, but no. Again, the PCA were used as the players wing of the ECB.
Nice to note, Danny, that they’ve taken down Outside Cricket at last at the ECB. Now why would they do that?
I look forward to reading the next sets of accounts from Yorkshire and Warwickshire. Without some extra dosh, they really had no future.
So 39 is doing adverts for Sky now? With your chance to go to the KIA oval. Send your celebrations to Sky. Hmmm. Impartial?
Hales has got 114 out of 154/5. If Notts could just find a batsman to stay with him they would be winning this with ease.
Hales has 171 out of 258 now.
Finally Notts have found someone to stay with him. Reed on 44.
40 off 10 overs.
Other winners include Ebony Raincloud-Bore and Charles Dagnall. Also Ed Smith and Graeme Swann. Losers include anyone who doesn’t want their ears to bleed when listening to or watching BBC coverage go to the next level.
Someone should ask Graves etc how many current England Internationals will be seen during the lovely new T20 comp? What’s that? None?!
Ah well, a couple of T20 internationals a year will mean someone like me might actually have a clue what Jake Ball looks like.
I’m not joking. I could pass him in the street and not have a clue.
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I am sure I read somewhere that Agnew doesn’t like doing TV coverage. BY 2020 the world outside of BOC will have forgotten that Ed Smith copied someone else’s article and passed it off as his own, and will bring just enough posh boy gravitas to the role of the anchor for BBC cricket. Then we’ll see who they have lined up for the main pundit part, and you can bet your sweet life that #39 will be sniffing around somewhere or other. Shiny Toy and Phil the Geezer will be looking for gainful employment, and maybe Jimmy Anderson will be the ex-England pro’ to inject new blood.
Unless Mark Nicholas wants it.
I don’t think Agnew gives a stuff about 20/20, so he won’t be doing the live games. By 2020-24 we will have the retirement of Cook. A crimson draped throne waits for him in the commentary box. Funny if he pushed Nasser out the door. One Essex man for another.
Nassers great line today was ……” I think the 4 wickets going early helped settle Hales down.”
Yes, because what Hales didn’t want was for someone to stick with him. Really?
Going to be fascinating to see how BBC are going to balance their coverage of the T20 in 2020 as it looks like it will launch bang in the middle of the Tokyo Olympics.
Agnew is their most recognisable figure. It’ll be tough to launch without him. I assume test matches will come first that summer.
It might not necessarily be 2020. As Neil Harris pointed out on Twitter, there doesn’t seem to be any mention of Channel 5’s current contract going beyond 2017. It may be that there’s an extension available like Sky had, or cricket highlights rights are so low profile that no one bothered reporting on them. It’s also possible that the BBC could start showing highlights from next year…
Why is the RL Cup final today? Is it no longer the end-of-season showpiece? I literally had no idea that it had been on until I came to look at this site just now. What an utter joke the ECB are. Hopeless.
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It’s the B&H cup without the NatWest/Gillette/C&G Final to follow, of course.
You can’t have an end of season “Showpiece” this yeaar unless you hold it on the first weekend of October. What do we have? It’s now July and we have 7 tests, 5 ODIs, 1 T20 international AND the Blast to cram in. Makes you weep.
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Rest assured. It is still considered important enough to make certain that no other cricket is played in England (bar the South Africa warmup game).
So now we have 4 women’s World Cup fixtures on Sunday. So, not only are people who are interested in women’s cricket forced to miss out on a fair number of games, these games now have to compete with Sri Lanka – Zimbabwe (a no show from the visitors) and West Indies – India later in the day.
Why one or two of those games could not be held on a Saturday is beyond me. Presumably because the ICC does not care to maximise exposure.
Shambolic of course.
Looks like the South African A tour by Australia might get cancelled soon.
So Bangladesh might miss out on another tour from Australia. This time not because of security reasons, but because CA rather pay their bureaucrats than the players. Apparently, the bureaucrats in CA have increased nearly 10-fold in the last decade. And why invest in the actual grassroot game, when you can have PR-people spin that it is utterly necessary to invest in the actual game? It is an utterly ridiculous notion that players are more important to playing the game than pencil pushers. Who could have guessed?
Oh, and it is hilarious that CA pretend to act surprised, that players will not tour, if there is no contract / MoU in place.
They’re talking about loaning players to CA for the Ashes, which will disappoint all of us who were hoping they’d field a team of club and retired cricketers.
I was looking forward to reading ‘Lambs to the Slaughter 2’….
Is that the (working) title of Cook’s biography detailing of his time as England captain?
Timotei has done his part.
There is always the hope that Sutherland and his ilk will take to the field.
By all accounts CA are likely to increase their revenue in the next few years, so they want to end the sharing model going to the lower ranked players before that happens. Much like what the ECB have done with the counties. Much more important that greedy executives get the money for their lavish projects, and salaries.
I do think we see a pattern here of the administrators of cricket wanting to run the game like a neo liberal model where all the money goes to a small elite at the top. CA thought they could split the elite players off from the rest of the players, and then share the spoils for themselves.
Everybody assumes the players will win, but I think they underestimate the determination of the board to break the players. I think they would be prepared to destroy the game in the short term to get what they want. They are not used to dealing with workers with power. They come from the corporate world where employees are kept in their place.
Sport is one of the few industries where the players have as much power as the management. Which is why the board are using the divide and rule model to split the players.
So far it is not succeeding. The question simply will be: who can hold out longer? The players who will be starved of their steady incomes, or the administrators, who will be abandoned by sponsors and the general public alike?
A few court cases on restraint of trade could be imminent and crucial here (like the Bosman ruling was for football). And with T20 leagues all around, potential for an influx across the world from Australian players into these could really put the cat among the pigeons.
Oh, and I expect something similar to happen in England in the next few years. After the counties have been screwed over, the next challenge is to screw the players over, to become endless T20 fodder or biffers..
The very definition of a drop in the ocean. These ‘new T20 fans’ treat a work’s paid for piss up trip to the cricket like they’re watching Love Island or X Factor anyway.
Newman continuing the fearless criticism of the England captain that has been such a feature of his journalism in the ladt three years:
Even #39 isn’t so full of hubris to think any gives a stuff what he thinks about the election:
Smith’s rewriting of history to deny his previous infatuation with May (see his article in October last year for example) is as shameless as you’d expect from someone who quotes another’s work without proper attribution.
And if you want to see his contempt for those who didn’t have the benefit of his education laid absolutely bare, see his comparison of politics to a sheepdog trial (with guess who as the sheep)….
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Faf du Plessis is out of the 1st test match. Elgar will stand is as captain.
In other news Nasser informs us that Amla will be the “prized wicket.”
And night will follow day. Good luck if you have paid top prices for this event!
Amla’s only made one century in his last 19 Test innings and hasn’t got past 60 in the other 18. If he hadn’t been dropped early on in the century (at home against an awful SL attack), he’d have been in serious danger of being dropped.
It’s not like it’s a paid journalist’s job to know these things or anything.
Amla has been in horrific form for quite some time now. Not that you would read about it in the press. Duminy is in horrific form for the past 9 years or so – not that you would read about it in the press.
I suspect they will drop Amla long before they will drop Duminy (the same Duminy who merely needed 9 years to have his second series in which he made 2 50+ scores in the same series, against that same Sri Lanka attack).
Judging by the team selection they’ve told Tom Harrison to fuck off??
Well now they’ve been paid, so they don’t have to bother playing exciting cricket for another 5 years now…
My son is trying to resurrect the old ‘Dad ‘n Son go to the football match’ routine by trying to relive my history of his favourite team – he even writes articles about it for a fanzine. We live at opposite ends of the country which makes it practically difficult allied to my own lack of mobility following knee replacement – don’t believe all you hear about these ops – it’s all rather pointless and the only ones to gain are the financial ‘wizzards’ that operate mainly out of public eye and scrutiny.
I faithfully put my cricketers out on the lawn in May and enjoy the symbolism but they are made of concrete and will last much longer than Sky or the ECB or, indeed, the game itself – which has in reality been over for a long time
Not only are the BBC to act as midwives to help the birth of the new T20 competition – a competition that would die on its arse without the wider exposure to ‘new markets’ that this deal will hope to bring – but it is also a life-support for Sky Sports. I think a dedicated cricket channel would further ghettoise the sport, and the number of previously disenfranchised cricket fans signing up for a lower price would be dwarfed by the number of football fans seeing an opportunity to save a few quid and thereby losing access to cricket. The only way to save the scheme is by opening up the sport to FTA to promote cricket beyond the small group of dedicated subscribers.
How fortunate for Sky that the ECB’s packages enable exactly this! Who knew that Sky’s and the ECB’s interests and goals could be so symbiotic?!
So, in summary, I suppose we should add Football Fans to Danny’s list of winners.
Splendid FEC nonsense:
Is Berry on something? This is abject.
Brearley hits it on the head here:
Worth a read
Brings back some fond memories. Five match series, who needs them eh