At least the game this evening isn’t scheduled at the same time the England football team are playing, which means that it’s at least possible some will notice it happening. On the other hand, the television audiences for the football World Cup have been exceptional even in the games England haven’t been involved in. The Belgium – Japan second round match saw a peak of 12.4 million tune in, a figure exceeded in 2017 only by Blue Planet, the Strictly final and the launch of I’m a Celebrity.
Once again, it needs to be stated that the World Cup is special, and as a quadrennial event, can capture the public imagination like little else. Equally, England still being in the competition does affect the interest in other games, as people pay attention to what else is happening in the tournament while dreaming about future opponents. Nevertheless, the viewing figures are simply extraordinary, testament to the power of sport when made widely available. Of course, this isn’t a new complaint concerning cricket, and while it might well be a case of not wishing to start from where we currently are, it bears endless repeating when you have the likes of Colin Graves not being held account for comments such as these he made in 2016:
“We’d like to see some live cricket on terrestrial television, but Test cricket will not be on terrestrial television.
“The younger generation do not watch terrestrial television, they use social media. We have to take that into account. It will be a mix‑and-match situation for us to come up with the right formula.”
At the time he said this, few challenged it, beyond the usual minority groups often known as cricket supporters, plus a few others irrelevancies such as broadcast professionals. But they do not count of course, not when faced with the apologists for the cash cow that cricket has become, who parrot the same line in continuing defiance of reality. That Graves pretty much got away with it remains a disgrace, and this World Cup has highlighted repeatedly that the refrain from the ECB that young people wouldn’t watch terrestrial television to be just so much more utter horseshit from an organisation that specialises in repeatedly showering equine excrement at every opportunity.
Tonight it’s Belgium v Brazil, and without a shadow of a doubt the audience for that will be many, many times those watching the cricket involving our own country. Indeed, the principal rival for viewing figures will almost certainly be Wimbledon, followed by whatever else is on the terrestrial stations. The T20 will be a long way down the list.
There is not a thing wrong with having a balance in cricket formats, nor in broadcasting arrangements. Indeed there’s really nothing wrong with looking at all factors and deciding to just go for the cash, to say so would at least be honest about the position. What is, and what has always been the problem is the duplicity, evasion and pretence that it’s for the common good. The army of useful idiots who failed to hold them to account for flat out falsehoods can be added to the list of those caught out by the apparently surprising national appetite for freely available sporting drama. The kids in the parks currently playing football and dreaming of being Harry Kane are the reward for that access.
And what of the T20 itself? England were more or less hammered in the first one, unable to cope with spin, and unable to cope with India’s batting. It was a good day to bury bad news, that’s for sure. Whether tonight will be any better is an open question, but the true answer is that whatever the delights of cricket as a game we all love, right now barely anyone in this country cares. That’s not a problem during a World Cup, for no other sport can compete with it. It is a problem when no one cares and no one watches either. And of all the reasons behind that, it certainly isn’t because young people don’t watch terrestrial television. It never was. Enough with the excuses.
Spot on! Grand Nation gets 9-10 million every year.
England v Scotland six nations got 9.3 million 2 years ago.
I’d bet the boat race gets decent figures.
Not a sell out at Cardiff. Shock. South West games should be played at Bristol or Taunton where they like cricket.
Interesting article on cricinfo. Where has all the money gone? Only £8 million in the reserves.
Sad times for a wonderful sport.
Oh come now, TLG, don’t you know it’s only middle aged White Van Man watching the footie? The “woke” youngsters are all on social meeja, doing their weird Millenial stuff that’s a total mystery to anyone over 30 🙂
Seriously, I hope there’s some more in depth statistical analysis on these huge World Cup audiences. I suspect it would demonstrate that, although much less pervasive than it was, given the right occasion appointment viewing by the whole family can still be a thing. And anyway, if there’s demonstrably a vast audience for FTA sport does it actually matter how old that audience is? Arguably, older viewers are actually a more prized audience where advertising revenue is a factor. Talk about throwing out the bambino with the bath water. Graves’ comments on FTA in 2016 are a classic case of retrospectively inventing a (weak and tendentious) justification for an earlier poor decision. Otherwise known as trying desperately to cover your arse. You’re quite right: The fact that so few journalists (let alone politicians) have called him out on it is a disgrace.
Just watched the first half of the Brazil match, (fantastic) and switched over at half time to the cricket to see England are batting. Immediately Butler got out. I’ll be switching back to watch the second half of the football in a minute.
The line from Graves which was backed by most of the cricket media morons at the time, and by so called media experts like 39..
“The younger generation do not watch terrestrial television, they use social media…..”
is the shit sandwich that should be forced down their throats for a thousand years.
Th ECB is run by greedy fools.
By the way, why do we have day night games in the summer when it is bright sunshine? When the lights come on, the Sky is still blue. Utter madness,
Right back to the football…….
Makes even less sense considering the time in India. The game is scheduled to finish beyond 1 AM IST. Would have made more sense to have like a 3 PM start, which would be 7.30 PM in India, if I am not mistaken. It is not like millions are watching it on Sky. There are potentially millions of viewers in India, but if the game starts that late, that can’t be good for viewership.
By by Brazil, and the cheating Neymar. Good riddance.
By the way, Belgium march on to the semis. This is the team the cretinous English media said we should do everything to win against in a dead rubber just so we could play Japan.
Southgate rested his players, and avoided Brazil in the quarter finals. What ever happens tomorrow the English football media should put their resignation letters on their editors desks the moment they return. They are all morons. Freeloading morons, but MORONS none the less! They are stealing a living. They know nothing. My dog could write more sense with a bucket of ink and a piece of wallpaper!
To be fair, England might have just beaten Brazil on that performance. 🙂
Not that it would make the species known as Sports Journalists in any way more honest, likeable or intelligent.
“My dog could write more sense with a bucket of ink and a piece of wallpaper”
I shall try not to take that personally. 🤔😉
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It was never meant as criticism of you leglance.It was directed at that rouge bunch of charlatans known as the English football media.
They are all hiding behind the excuse that they are journalists, and not cheerleaders. Trouble is they have been writing ghost columns for top players for decades, and writing ghost ( so called autobiography’s) of players and managers.
Absolutely no conflict of interest there then? Charlatans, and snake oil salesman the lot of them.
Oh Mark! I wouldn’t mind if it was, but ’twas just a joke, promise.
My joke radar must be turned off on that one. Sorry about that.
By the way, well done on focusing on the contrast of the TV audiences of the two sports. As you say…..a World Cup is a once every four year event, and it is football, which is far mor popular than cricket. However, the contrast in the way the sports have diverged over the last 15 years is very noticeable.
The cricket media were totally supportive of the ECBs move to make cricket “invisible” in exchange for dosh. With certain usual suspects. (One in particular….cough cough) who became extraordinarily hostile to free to air broadcasting, as he himself got free entry to many cricket matches as part of his job. And then bemoaning the fact he missed out on his free jolly down to Australia for the last Ashes when nobody wanted his copy any more.
I particularly enjoyed the journos who didn’t have a BT contract (only a Sky one) being frozen out all together from watching the Ashes and angrily lashing out against the cricket authorities. Oh the irony!
That was fun, I’m enjoying this T20 series. Just the right amount of edge and some smart cricket from both sides.this time, England had obviously done some homework.
Though it did get a bit surreal towards the end as Sky’s Now TV coverage on my computer was out of sync for the last couple of overs, with the commentary a ball behind, That’s happened before, does anyone else have that problem or are you all Sky Sports subscribers watching on your 50″ screens?
A streamed match on a computer or tablet is, of course, exactly what “young people” would be likely to watch, so worth getting it right, one might think.
Was watching on Sky Sports app on my IPad. It did keep freezing now and then but it seems to be a feature of the app. By the way, I can’t claim to be young people.
I too enjoyed this one. It was a battle. Hales is a star for me. Nasser told us on commentary that Hales was poor against spin but clearly forgot to tell him
Maybe the going out of sync is to do with my broadband, which is not tremendously fast.
Hales is funny, sometimes he seems like a bit of an idiot but then he rises to the occasion like today.
Poor Kuldeep was upset, getting hit for six when only a few days ago he had them all bamboozled. It’s a cruel game.
Root should be forcibly rested. I believe he wanted to get more practice in T20, but he really would be better to put his feet up IMHO, he looks like a man who doesn’t realise how tired he is.
Bloody hell! I never knew it was on until I dropped in on here tonight..oh well..
Decider on Sunday, should be worth a look.
I’m in Cardiff and yesterday was a fantastic occasion in terms of live sport. The game itself, the atmosphere created and eked out by a passionate support base (India, obvs), the weather, the colour, Alex Hales. It was genuinely superb.
The fact only 10k people plus a handful watching on TV witnessed it, is just another nail in crickets coffin.
The team colours may look exactly like yesterday with Sweden in Brazil’s yellow shirts and blue shorts, and England looking like Belgium in all red, but so far the kits are the only similarities.
The pace is pedestrian compared to last nights game.