The Australian cricket team is at one of its lowest points in memory, struggling to find form ahead of a test series on home soil against India, whilst also trying to recreate an identity that demands respect from the rest of the world.
It’s a pivotal period in the history of Australian cricket, and one that craves fan support, yet despite all this, cricket fans are being starved of something that has always been free and accessible ever since cricket was first televised in Australia on Channel Nine.
The Australian international summer of cricket started a few weeks ago, yet many fans are yet to witness it.
Foxtel and Channel Seven’s agreement with Cricket Australia sees all one-day internationals and twenty20 internationals broadcast exclusively on Foxtel’s pay to view platform, a luxury many Australian families or individuals cannot afford.
Seven will still feature all six test matches, most of the Big Bash League (16 exclusive games to Foxtel) and all of the Women’s summer of cricket, but fans won’t be able to access any international limited overs matches unless they sign up to Foxtel.
It’s the first time for many people that they are unable to watch the summer of cricket in its entirety, meaning less viewers and the possibility of less fan interest as well.
It’s hard to see how having a smaller audience is going to help a struggling team that desperately needs the backing of its fans.
The combination of having an Australian team that lacks the substance of previous years, along with making the game less accessible to the public is a dangerous one.
There’s no doubt there is huge interest in the First Test starting on Thursday in Adelaide, but for the limited overs fixtures to come later in the summer there is sure to be a significant drop in the number of people tuning in.
If we are talking about the growth of cricket in Australia, making it harder to watch for fans can surely only negatively impact the younger generation and their interest in Australia’s major summer sport.
It’s a big deal that sees a large portion of money head Cricket Australia’s way, but is it actually looking after the fans aswell?