The New Zealand cricket team is currently touring South Africa where they have just drawn a T20 series. We know this because there are scorecards on Cricinfo and the NZ Cricket sites, and match reports on the news sites written by people going off those same scorecards.
For the first time since 2004, when the Pakistani cameramen were on strike, the New Zealand cricket team is playing international matches, and they are not being screened here. Rubbing salt into that wound is the fact they are being screened in Australia and Britain. All this at a time when the fortunes of the national side are unusually high, and when the previous meeting between the two sides in March was rather memorable.
This situation has come about because SKY has been unwilling to pay the amount wanted by the host broadcaster. And, being the near monopoly they are, they know that the host broadcaster has no other option when selling these rights. The subscribers lose out, and there is no threat to SKY’s $160m profit, which is likely to increase when this year’s profit is announced soon
Unhelpfully, SKY Sports spokesperson Kirsty Way popped up over the weekend saying “We’re huge cricket fans, we have funded the domestic game for 12 years and always followed the domestic game overseas and it’s really disappointing not to have these rights.”
That is an interesting interpretation of a TV deal. They agreed to purchase some of NZC’s commercial property (their broadcasting rights) for what they presumably regarded as a fair price. This not funding the game at all; you could argue they have profited from it; especially over the last year. Sport props up Sky; who would bother subscribing anymore if it wasn’t for sport?
This will probably get sorted out before the ODI series; the difference is rumoured to be around $50,000 which in the overall scheme of things does not appear to be a lt. But this is a needless hit to SKY’s already dwindling goodwill.
Their offerings are diminishing, in contrast to the direction of their subscription fee. And by not showing an event people can rightfully expect to see on their TV screens, it drives them to explore online options, regardless of their legality.