At the start of this year, we took our (then) 5 & 7 year old daughters to McLean Park for a Super Smash double header; Hinds v Sparks and Stags v Volts. They’d never been to watch cricket before, they’d never played, never watched it on tv. They absolutely loved it. After the first match, they went down and met most of the Sparks and Hinds players, got photos and autographs. They had no idea who the players were but it didn’t matter. The players made time for them and they appreciated it. In term one, they both started playing cricket, with Saturday morning skills sessions at school. In term four, the oldest has been playing T-16 every Saturday morning and the (now) 6 year old has done skills sessions again.
They still haven’t watched a game on tv, even though I’ve had cricket on a fair bit, both early in the year and over the last 10 days. They want to participate based on that live experience they had 11 months ago. They ask me to take them to the nets at school for more practice, but if we get home and I switch on the Blackcaps, they don’t pay attention. We’ll go to McLean Park. for more Super Smash this season, we might even treat ourselves and go to an international fixture. But regardless, they will keep playing and practicing because to them that’s what matters. Maybe they’re the exception that proves some sort of rule, I’m not sure. We’re lucky in that we’ve had Sky forever and I’ve chosen to take out a Spark subscription; I choose to spend that $25.99 on that rather than a few beers down the pub in a Friday night after work as I see more value in that choice, but I do it for my enjoyment, not that of my kids.
From what I read, Sky hits approx. 40% of New Zealand households, so historically many potential viewers have been detached from the game via television if they don’t subscribe. Yes, Spark may be something else to pay for, but you can easily cancel your subscription after the cricket season, or perhaps adjust your Sky subscription to cover the cost of Spark. Or you can choose to save money in other ways like I do.
As an aside, have you seen the list of Super Smash games on TVNZ this year?
It’s pretty good. Pay TV isn’t the be all and end all.
My kids love cricket and couldn’t care less if it’s on tv or not, never mind if it’s free or something we pay for. Their love, however long it lasts will be from the first live experience watching players they didn’t know. If it stops, it won’t be because they don’t watch it on tv. It’ll be because they want to do something else more than cricket – and that’s ok.
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