Sky News Update: As The Ashes draws to a close, Sky look at how successful, or not, their dedicated cricket channel has been with their viewers.
In England, the summer is synonymous with images of village cricket teams playing in glorious sun, drinking cups of tea and eating tiny sandwiches. That is at least for those who don’t actually partake in these activities; most that do know that the glorious sun basking the square is, unfortunately, only too rare. This summer, England host Australia for the infamous Ashes series. In order to offer the best possible coverage of the series, Sky made the brave move to change their ‘Sky Sports 2’ channel to ‘Sky Sports Ashes’ – a channel that is 100% dedicated to covering cricket.
For those who are a fan of the Ashes and cricket full stop this has been fabulous. There’s always something to watch, whether it’s a replay of a recent match or one from another time, county cricket or even Lions’ matches. This means viewers can truly get their fill of the cricket season and immerse themselves in the season. It also of course means that those who dislike cricket but are sports enthusiasts and therefore pay for the sports package, are down one channel for 60 days.
Some customers have expressed their sincere displeasure at this but as the season comes to a close, Sky will be reviewing how the channel has been received. The Ashes always creates a certain amount of ‘Ashes Fever’ for the entire country, particularly in years like this when England are dominating the series and have already won before the final Test. The ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) have entered into serious campaigns this year to promote cricket in all of its formats.
This includes providing free tickets for children to go to county matches with adults and this seems to have gone down well over the holidays with every short format county match (YB40 and Flt20) being well populated. Sky offered full coverage of the Flt20 Final’s Day that occurred on Saturday 17th August which saw three consecutive Twenty20 matches played and Northamptonshire crowned the champions as David Willey dominated the day with the fastest struck half century of the contest and finishing off runners-up Surrey with a hat-trick.
With another Ashes series just around the corner in Australia, keen cricket fans will be hoping Sky Sports keep the idea of a dedicated channel but reports from this summer’s debut will probably be the deciding factor.
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