Cricket Australia have a very near sighted and short term view of the potential of domestic cricket if they think Pay TV is the best place for domestic cricket to be broadcast.
Cricket Australia are chasing the short term dollar broadcasting the Ryobi Cup and the KFC big bash on Pay TV. Ok Fox Sports obviously will pay more money for the broadcast rights than what Freeview will but Cricket Australia forget the other benefits of bringing domestic cricket to the masses.
Only 20% of Australians have Pay TV so only 20% of Australians get to see domestic cricket in their homes. If Cricket Australia sold the rights to domestic cricket to Freeview for less money (either ONE HD or one of Channel 9’s other channels) 100% of Australians would get to watch it. This would generate greater interest in the product and would most likely boost attendance figures. After watching some of the great games on Freeview people would be more inclined to go and watch it live. I could not believe that there was such a poor crowd at the recent Ryobi Cup game between the Tasmanian Tigers and the Victorian Bushrangers at Blundstone Arena. The game was an extremely high standard both teams boasted plenty of Australian Talent. Victoria, boasting Brad Hodge (in my opinion the best One Day player in the world but that is a story for another post) David Hussey and Cameron White. This batting line up would look good on many other countries team list. Tasmania boast Xavier Doherty, Ben Hilfenhaus and Tim Paine if fit. Also Luke Butterworth and James Faulkner must be on the brink of Australian selection. These two teams have been the top two domestic teams for the past several years and always put up a thrilling game and this game was no different going down to the last ball of the game.
Freeview exposure would also generate greater brand awareness to the games sponsors with greater exposure on Freeview they have potentialy a 500% larger audience so they theoretically would be prepared to pay 500% more for sponsorship. So with greater potential to earn higher sponsorship dollars and increased gate takings, beer and pie sales the revenue lost from the PayTV deal will quickly be recouped.
With the increased popularity of the KFC 20/20 Big Bash and with it being expanded this year it is a no brainer to get it on to Freeview.