Opinion: Cricket must embrace internet to save it from TV

Fielder throws cricket ball in

If England cricket's bizarre thought experiment, known as The Hundred, ever comes into being, we can lay the blame squarely at the foot of television. 


TV needs a precisely defined period in which the game must take place in order for rights holders to sell advertising - and this has driven the shortening of cricket matches since the invention of ODIs and advent of Kerry Packer's World Series in 1977.
 
Packer's series was a game-changer that offered a flashy TV programme product, complete with players decked out in brightly-coloured clothing - and entrenched the relationship between cricket and broadcasters.
 
Broadcasters soon found that cricket was prone to running over time - and this would lead to captain's being fined and eventually suspended for over-rate offences. 

In 2018, most cricket is broadcast across pay TV, but the England and Wales Cricket Board are eager to court a new audience with The Hundred. The ECB have been chasing the BBC to get cricket back on free-to-air TV to boost the flagging number of young cricket fans in the country.

This seems odd, though, in a country where teenagers and children are watching 33 percent less television on traditional sets than they were in 2010.
 
Cricket is in desperate need of its own Netflix - a web-based solution to the declining popularity of the sport. Subscription services like Willow HD are only available in the United States and Canada, where TV giants do not hold exclusive rights over the game.

As technology advances, TV is being left behind - its obtrusive ads and set programming rankle generations determined to forge a different path forward.
 
Cricket's most popular product, the Indian Premier League, has - to an extent - embraced the internet, allowing a bevvy of short video clips from matches to be viewed on their website and via their app. Cricket Australia, meanwhile, have investigated their own digital options and appear to be well poised to lead a revolution in terms of how cricket is presented to the public.

Advances in technology will soon allow cricket boards who have positioned themselves well to take charge of broadcasting and presenting their products, but in England the ECB appear hellbent on pursuing a fading format of entertainment with a mutant form of cricket. This is not forward thinking. This is trying to reinvent the wheel - and being woefully out of touch with how the business of entertainment and sport is changing and how younger people think and act.

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Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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