Nine live: cricket’s TV blackouts face the axe
(Sydney Morning Herald, 29.4.05)
The SMH is reporting today that the antiquated home city Test TV blackout of the first two sessions of the day might be canned, if Cricket Australia signs up with Channel 9 for another seven years of covering Australian cricket.
While this is good news if it comes off – and brings Australia into line with the rest of the cricketing world – it does nothing to resolve one of the chronic problems with Channel 9’s handling of live coverage. Namely, that the closing stages of the day’s play make way for the 6pm news, or sometimes for the 5.30pm game show.
This problem was alleviated to some degree during the 2004-05 season when CA agreed to move the scheduled start of play half an hour forward to 10.30am, making the scheduled stumps 5.30pm, and under current ICC playing conditions no later than 6pm. Considering that daylight in mid-summer southern Australia continues till 8pm or even later, it’s simply an anti-spectator solution to start play earlier in the morning and ending in mid-afternoon.
At Channel 9, cricket is just one commodity alongside the likes of Eddie Maguire, Backyard Blitz, Eddie Maguire, The Price Is Right, Eddie Maguire and Eddie Maguire. Sadly, no other free-to-air network is likely to be in the bidding.