David Davies has listed all home Ashes cricket series as a ‘crown jewel’ event from 2017, much to the dismay of the ECB.
The ECB has derided this decision, claiming the decision will “kill” grassroots cricket, as the majority of funding the ECB give to the lower forms of the game comes from the Sky TV deal.
But will the drop in revenue be as great as Giles Clarke, chairman of the ECB, is making out? He says TV revenue will drop from £66m to £25m, according to the Guardian.
It is only the Ashes series that will be placed on the ‘crown jewels’ list. This still means they can sell all the other series as a whole. And if Davies’ plan does work it will increase interest in this package, thus raising its worth.
As the ECB are worried about grassroots cricket, as they should be, they could reduce the amount of money given to counties. This would stop the counties paying expensive overseas players and give young English talent a chance, as brilliantly illustrated by Scyld Berry in the Sunday Telegraph.
All it would mean for the ECB is that they would have to tighten the purse strings and rearrange their budget.
Just because the Ashes have to be shown on free-to-air channels, Sky can still bid for the games along with the other broadcasters.
This is due to the 2012 compulsory switch over which means all televisions have to be digitally enabled, with no more terrestrial channels being broadcast.
Advantages for Sky
This would allow Sky to show the series on these channels for free, as they have done with the Free-weekend Pass promotion. There are also other advantages for Sky in using this system.
This is the perfect platform to showcase the excellent coverage they provide on the England cricket team. This could inspire customers to upgrade to their sports channels in order to watch the other cricket series.
Also the money Sky may lose from customers not paying to watch the games can be retrieved through the increase in advertising revenue as more people will watch their channels. Sky may even buy the series at a cheaper rate.
David Davies’ plan will allow more people to watch Ashes cricket and to inspire the next generation of future cricketers. If it works it will do more than any grassroots programme the ECB have in place.
This is important for Giles Clarke to understand.
By Jack Atchinson