Australia news March 12, 2012

Sheffield Shield final cut from television schedule

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Australian domestic cricket's honorary "Test match", the Sheffield Shield final, will not be broadcast on television for the first time since 2007, due to cramped scheduling and the drain of resources created by the Twenty20 Big Bash League.

Due to be fought between Queensland and Tasmania over five days from Friday, the competition decider has been jettisoned from the pay television broadcaster Fox Sports' schedule as it juggles a vast array of football codes and the start of Australia's ODI series in the West Indies.

The logjam of matches is so intense that there was not even room for the final to be squeezed in via the digital multi-channelling option, which had already been reserved for other clashing sports.

While the schedule cram is a primary reason for the final's absence from television screens, the extra production costs of the BBL, expanded from six states to eight city-based teams this summer, is also understood to be a significant factor in Fox Sports' decision.

"More cricket was broadcast over the summer for the BBL and that chewed up a number of outside broadcasts," a spokesman for Fox Sports told ESPNcricinfo.

Instead of television coverage, the final will be webcast by Fox Sports, with two cameras to provide pictures from the Gabba while Brendon Julian and Mark Waugh anchor the coverage and provide commentary from the studio.

"It's a reasonable compromise, the match won't be on TV sets but the webcast means it will be open to all viewers, not just Fox subscribers," the spokesman said.

The Shield final has had a chequered history as a television product, broadcast at various times by Channel Nine, the defunct Optus Vision pay television network and Fox Sports since 2008. Its status as the most important domestic match of the summer has been enhanced by the broadcasts, with most players recognising the chance to place their name in lights by performing in a broadcast fixture.

In 2008, Phillip Hughes, Beau Casson and Peter Siddle all pushed ahead on the queue for Test places by performing strongly in the New South Wales versus Victoria final at the SCG, and all would earn a Baggy Green cap over the following 12 months. Last year the opening batsman Ed Cowan and teenaged fast bowler Pat Cummins both put in noteworthy final displays and were representing Australia before 2011 was out.

Shield matches have been webcast by Cricket Australia and the state associations over the past two summers, though at the Gabba Queensland Cricket had cut a budgetary corner at the start of the season - in order to make more room for the Brisbane Heat BBL team - by removing their internal broadcast cameras for Shield games.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • zenboomerang on March 13, 2012, 3:10 GMT

    @Wozza-CY... As I previously posted on another thread - Watching Bird bowl, he is a med-fast bowler (around 130kph - like Anderson & Co.) with exceptional line & length - hits the corridor all day long... A v.g. exponent of reverse swing & like Butterworth would be good to see in UK conditions... He is faster than Copeland (120kph) who could use the extra 10kph to get better advantage from the conditions... @Meety... Lots of people have seen Bird bowl - except couch potatoes that never go to Shield games... lol...

  • DrunkOtter on March 13, 2012, 2:03 GMT

    With free-to-air digital TV and the internet, really the only reason to get Fox these days is for the sports. If Fox start dropping the sports, there's really no need to have Fox. Simple as that.

  • Nerk on March 13, 2012, 0:44 GMT

    You would think with all the free to air channels now operating in Australia one of them would pick up on this chance. They can play reruns of Macgyver any old time.

  • tearsinblue on March 12, 2012, 23:44 GMT

    This is really disappointing. How we can let BCCI dictate to ICC all the time? How can one board have all the power and do horrible things to the long forms of the game? How can...oh, hang on a sec.

  • Meety on March 12, 2012, 23:39 GMT

    @Claydo78 - really? The NSW conspiracy on this thread? Please! @Wozza-CY - that seems to be tie in with what I've heard, J Bird - the man of mystery, I still think it is amazing that virtually nobody has seen him play! The Copeland comparison is a good call, but even Copeland wasn't getting as many as this fella! Whatever his pace, you'd think he would be lethal in England, & given that most of England's premier bowlers are slower than ours, I think the selectors need to back off a bit on the pace obsession.

  • Simoc on March 12, 2012, 23:19 GMT

    A game between two minor states has little appeal. Might catch bits of the webcast but free TV I wouldn't bother watching. Just updates and Queensland winning is all I need to know.

  • on March 12, 2012, 23:10 GMT

    Foxtel Management, this is a Big Mistake from your end 2 Cricket fans. You can show all other sports from around the world and has no time for Ultimate Australian Domestic Cricket Finals........ Shame on you!!! Cancelling my Foxtel Subcription Today........

  • on March 12, 2012, 22:16 GMT

    "Reasonable compromise". What rubbish. BBL taking precedence over Shield, death of the game won't be far away.

  • Wozza-CY on March 12, 2012, 21:45 GMT

    @Meety- re Jackson Bird- I haven't actually seen this guy bowl but from all reports he's 'not express, but puts the ball in the corridor of uncertainty and moves it'. Sounds a lot like a Trent Copeland to me. Hope his career doesn't go the same way as Copelands because unless you fling it down at 145kph the Ozi selectors don't seem to want to know about you. Agree with your comments about Cutting, but for me having Punter in your team & his record at the GABBA, I've got Tassie slightly ahead.

  • Wozza-CY on March 12, 2012, 21:38 GMT

    Disapointed by this decision but not surprised given the CA bias towards the BBL. Agreed this should be the Jewell in the crown of the domestic season, but perhaps it's the product itself? Surely a home draw is enough of an advantage? Why not make it a 'winner takes all' proper test match type final rather than 'a draw and the home team wins'. That is what is affecting the marketability of the product. Make it more exciting & it will be in more demand.

  • zenboomerang on March 13, 2012, 3:10 GMT

    @Wozza-CY... As I previously posted on another thread - Watching Bird bowl, he is a med-fast bowler (around 130kph - like Anderson & Co.) with exceptional line & length - hits the corridor all day long... A v.g. exponent of reverse swing & like Butterworth would be good to see in UK conditions... He is faster than Copeland (120kph) who could use the extra 10kph to get better advantage from the conditions... @Meety... Lots of people have seen Bird bowl - except couch potatoes that never go to Shield games... lol...

  • DrunkOtter on March 13, 2012, 2:03 GMT

    With free-to-air digital TV and the internet, really the only reason to get Fox these days is for the sports. If Fox start dropping the sports, there's really no need to have Fox. Simple as that.

  • Nerk on March 13, 2012, 0:44 GMT

    You would think with all the free to air channels now operating in Australia one of them would pick up on this chance. They can play reruns of Macgyver any old time.

  • tearsinblue on March 12, 2012, 23:44 GMT

    This is really disappointing. How we can let BCCI dictate to ICC all the time? How can one board have all the power and do horrible things to the long forms of the game? How can...oh, hang on a sec.

  • Meety on March 12, 2012, 23:39 GMT

    @Claydo78 - really? The NSW conspiracy on this thread? Please! @Wozza-CY - that seems to be tie in with what I've heard, J Bird - the man of mystery, I still think it is amazing that virtually nobody has seen him play! The Copeland comparison is a good call, but even Copeland wasn't getting as many as this fella! Whatever his pace, you'd think he would be lethal in England, & given that most of England's premier bowlers are slower than ours, I think the selectors need to back off a bit on the pace obsession.

  • Simoc on March 12, 2012, 23:19 GMT

    A game between two minor states has little appeal. Might catch bits of the webcast but free TV I wouldn't bother watching. Just updates and Queensland winning is all I need to know.

  • on March 12, 2012, 23:10 GMT

    Foxtel Management, this is a Big Mistake from your end 2 Cricket fans. You can show all other sports from around the world and has no time for Ultimate Australian Domestic Cricket Finals........ Shame on you!!! Cancelling my Foxtel Subcription Today........

  • on March 12, 2012, 22:16 GMT

    "Reasonable compromise". What rubbish. BBL taking precedence over Shield, death of the game won't be far away.

  • Wozza-CY on March 12, 2012, 21:45 GMT

    @Meety- re Jackson Bird- I haven't actually seen this guy bowl but from all reports he's 'not express, but puts the ball in the corridor of uncertainty and moves it'. Sounds a lot like a Trent Copeland to me. Hope his career doesn't go the same way as Copelands because unless you fling it down at 145kph the Ozi selectors don't seem to want to know about you. Agree with your comments about Cutting, but for me having Punter in your team & his record at the GABBA, I've got Tassie slightly ahead.

  • Wozza-CY on March 12, 2012, 21:38 GMT

    Disapointed by this decision but not surprised given the CA bias towards the BBL. Agreed this should be the Jewell in the crown of the domestic season, but perhaps it's the product itself? Surely a home draw is enough of an advantage? Why not make it a 'winner takes all' proper test match type final rather than 'a draw and the home team wins'. That is what is affecting the marketability of the product. Make it more exciting & it will be in more demand.

  • Digimont on March 12, 2012, 20:44 GMT

    Utterly disgraceful and pathetic decision. Foxtel could have factored the extra costs into next season but no, lets pull the plug. I encourage readers to make the same decision with regards to Foxtel.

  • Claydo78 on March 12, 2012, 20:18 GMT

    I have been a pay tv subscriber for years and I'm slowly coming to the the conclusion it's a ware of money! And not showing the shield final is proving my point! The amount of live sport on everyday around the world and we get re runs of the football! What are we pqying for? Come Richard Branson come in and create some competition for foxtel and then we may get some descent viewing at a competitive price!

  • Claydo78 on March 12, 2012, 20:09 GMT

    Another nail in the coffin of domestic cricket! They only get 54 people to these games including family and now it's not going to be televised! If NSW were playing in the final in would be on, same as its easy to get a baggy green playing for NSW! Cummins and smith wouldn't have played for Australia playing for anyone else!

  • on March 12, 2012, 20:07 GMT

    Well with Ponting playing, a television station has lost out a fair profit. Oh well

  • Joffa12 on March 12, 2012, 14:25 GMT

    thats a joke, i would love to see any station, free to air or pay tv that just covered all the domestic cricket, theyre great competitions but dont get enough exposure, hence the small crowds, people struggle to get into it, and regardless of how good the bbl is, id take a decent shield game over it any day of the week

  • on March 12, 2012, 13:38 GMT

    hopless,hopless,hopless,hopless they are....!!!

  • AngryAngy on March 12, 2012, 13:25 GMT

    seriously are there people on the internet complaining that it will be webcast instead of televised? for free instead of pay tv? for the real fans this should be a good thing, the internet being much more portable than a set top box. honestly how many were actually keen to watch it and how many don't care but like to look like they care?

  • on March 12, 2012, 12:23 GMT

    Absolutely appalling. Commercial interests further damaging the game. I would love to watch this game on one of the ABC's channels. Cricket is being slaughtered for its golden eggs.

  • Gordo85 on March 12, 2012, 12:22 GMT

    Thats a good idea like someone said before give it all to One. I would love all First Class cricket be on free to air as well as One Day Domestic. What should happen is Cricket Australia should give a free to air channel some money towards it because it would be helping them promote the domestic game in the build up to Test players ODI players and Twenty/20 players. Maybe even 9 and One could come up with a deal where Nine keeps what it has got going now but One does all the rest of the matches. Sponcers get ready.

  • on March 12, 2012, 12:11 GMT

    The Shield final is the worst game of the season to watch. They'll prepare a road at the Gabba that will allow QLD to bat for 4 days leaving Tasmania a day to score 900.

    Nothing is being missed. Unless NSW is the away team the home side always wins.

  • on March 12, 2012, 12:01 GMT

    This is woeful. Then CA complains that our state game needs more exposure to the younger generation.

  • dinkey on March 12, 2012, 11:55 GMT

    Why can't they show it on the Main Event Channel. This is a disgrace.

  • on March 12, 2012, 11:51 GMT

    When tv starts dictating sport, it is the beginning Of the end . If 20 20 is given so much importance it spells doom for cricket

  • on March 12, 2012, 11:46 GMT

    send domestic cricket back to the ABC like it once was, the digital channels just show reruns of reruns. just to fill in space between more and more ads

  • 12thman on March 12, 2012, 11:42 GMT

    Give it to ABC. They will do a better job.

  • popcorn on March 12, 2012, 11:25 GMT

    This is disgusting. The BEST Final in Australian Domestic Cricket confined to the dungeons? Shame on you, Cricket Australia. Is it all about money, honey?

  • David_Boon on March 12, 2012, 10:58 GMT

    What a disgrace. Take the rights off them if they won't show the games - this should be written into the contract. The ABC or SBS would love to broadcast the cricket, perhaps we could actually watch the games instead of 6 hours of commercials with a bit of cricket filled around it.

  • on March 12, 2012, 10:57 GMT

    this is y the domestic cricket should go on free 2 air tv, if its 9 or even one hd, we need 2 show the ppl of australia who the up and coming cricketer r and if we want 2 make domestic more well known we need it 2 b on free 2 air

  • Ozcricketwriter on March 12, 2012, 10:06 GMT

    Disgusting. Nothing more to say.

  • RedThing on March 12, 2012, 9:29 GMT

    This is a very serious attack on the game of cricket as opposed to the baseball that CA seems to be promoting. What is the point of the dopey 20/20 if the money raised is not being used for cricket where the next generation are nurtured?. Anyone subscribing to Austar should immediately email their complaints option. We may yet make them see sense.

  • MrPud on March 12, 2012, 9:21 GMT

    Congratulations to CA and Foxtel for bringing the game to the people so it can inspire future generations of cricketers. Not financially viable sounds like crap to me. Call it an investment in the future of our great game. By selling the broadcast rights to pay-tv, CA has sold its soul as well as shooting itself in both feet. Surely the minimal broadcasting expense could be written off as junior development.

  • on March 12, 2012, 9:18 GMT

    Let the ABC call it, im sure Kerry and the boys would do a fantastic job id watch that for sure

  • jasonpete on March 12, 2012, 8:51 GMT

    it's a disgraceful effort. CA is more in to BBL now.

  • Brumby90 on March 12, 2012, 8:42 GMT

    I wonder if Fox means the log jam of great sports like repeats of the repeats of boring rugby union or repeats of the repeats of the AFl and english soccer...or maybe they means the final round of the columbian golf open..or could it be the indy car race from2 years ago.. What a joke fox. Just like you were never going to show adds during programs and just like the price was going to drop once the new hd connections came in.

  • Gordo85 on March 12, 2012, 8:06 GMT

    Surely it could have been on and people could go through Viewers Choice like how that happens for Soccer and Cricket on pay TV. This does not suprise me because I remember the days when 9 used to have the IGN Cup on free to air and I used to watch it all the time it was fantastic. This is a shame.

  • zenboomerang on March 12, 2012, 7:54 GMT

    @Fox/Channel9 :- "The logjam of matches is so intense that there was not even room for the final to be squeezed in via the digital multi-channelling option, which had already been reserved for other clashing sports"... What a load of rubbish - have a look at Gems programing over the weekend... lol... Just rubbish fill-in programs... No sport - NRL, rugby, AFL or cricket... What clashing sports?... More like $$$$$...

  • zenboomerang on March 12, 2012, 7:53 GMT

    @Jimmy_Jim... Agree, cannot see why the ABC doesn't pick up the broadcast (contractual issues?)... This has got to be the most serious domestic game of the summer & its only broadcast on digital radio or on a limited screen display... Just not good enough - especially considering AFL is still only playing pre-season games... Feel sorry for all the southerners who can't watch it live...

  • Mervo on March 12, 2012, 7:52 GMT

    This is such a shame. The football season in Australia gets longer and longer and they now play in summer and then for 7-8 long months. Sponsors and player managers are too blame, as the public are turning off football because of far too many needless games. Imagine if this happened to baseball in the US. Another nail in the coffin of our only true national sport.

  • zenboomerang on March 12, 2012, 7:52 GMT

    @Busie1979... Read the article - its says its free to all online :) ... @Francis Fabian... Pay TV for Tests is a joke, its only good for couch potatoes... Wouldn't waste my time or money on it... WI's 15/16 hrs time difference... Eng 8/10 hrs...

  • on March 12, 2012, 7:44 GMT

    A pity; as a South African cricket fan, the Sheffield Shield has always seemed like the toughest domestic tournament on offer in the cricketing world in terms of strength versus strength. One of the highlights of visiting Lord's in 2009 was seeing the Shield on display at this great ground. Here's hoping that TV space can be found in the future for an important fixture such as this one - the final of a great competition.

  • Meety on March 12, 2012, 7:37 GMT

    Let SBS show it! Can't believe that One Sport, the channel ten offshoot couldn't do something. Shaping up as a good contest though, I'd have QLD as favourites, as long as Cutting was fit & playing. Another good knock from Joe Burns & he'd have to be on the selectors radar! On the Tassie side of things, Jackson Bird. I just can't believe his stats, the guy is a freak, where has he been for the previous 5 years? If the guy can stay injury free, he'd have to make an International debut sooner or later.

  • RandyOZ on March 12, 2012, 7:29 GMT

    Disgraceful effort. I would've given up the whole BBL series for just the Shield final.

  • on March 12, 2012, 7:21 GMT

    How disappointing this; For those of you who are fans of the four and five day game (Real Cricket) the media has now decided the Sheffield Shield, 150 years worth of tradition and quality cricket isn't worth broadcasting. Yet another insult to this great game. The Sheild competition was serverly sobotaged already this season by the rubbish 20/20 circus during January and now this once great game?

  • on March 12, 2012, 7:04 GMT

    It's amazing how many more things are "unaffordable" today, with a lot more money around, than were twenty to thirty years ago ....

  • kensohatter on March 12, 2012, 6:45 GMT

    Another sign post along the way to the ultimate destruction of test cricket. I just dont understand the hoopla surrounding 20/20. Cricket is a contest between bat and ball... 20/20 is basically a crap version of baseball where batsmen are given all the advantage and can lose a wicket every 2 overs and still be considered a good side. Can anyone truly remember a great 20/20 game, batting or bowling performance? They are designed to generate money in the fastest possible time to the detriment of real skillful cricket. If we keep promoting BBL over shield or 20/20 over test matches baseball (which is already growing and has financial backing to expand in australia) will eat us alive. Cant blame foxtel. Blame the ACB and their lack of vision.

  • on March 12, 2012, 6:41 GMT

    Ironic as the Big Bash was supposed to be a money spinner. Very disappointing. I bet they don't even bother with a highlights package. Glad I didn't waste my resources on the BB. Didn't even watch it (there were other options for me too). If Fox get rid of Tests I will happily give up pay TV.

  • Jimmy_Jim on March 12, 2012, 6:19 GMT

    Can't believe it. Haven't looked more forward to a Shield final in years, and it's one of my favourite sports events in the Australian cricket summer.

    Why didn't they just not show a few of the Ryobi cup games so that they could televise this? Not even a highlights package? Very very disappointed.

  • Stevo_ on March 12, 2012, 6:12 GMT

    Cricket Australia is a joke and is headed down the path of the BCCI - $$$$ at all cost regardless of the result

  • Busie1979 on March 12, 2012, 6:09 GMT

    Unsurprising but disappointing. It would be great to watch the shield final (or the shield generally for that matter).Webcast is good compromise, but will we have to pay for it?

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  • Busie1979 on March 12, 2012, 6:09 GMT

    Unsurprising but disappointing. It would be great to watch the shield final (or the shield generally for that matter).Webcast is good compromise, but will we have to pay for it?

  • Stevo_ on March 12, 2012, 6:12 GMT

    Cricket Australia is a joke and is headed down the path of the BCCI - $$$$ at all cost regardless of the result

  • Jimmy_Jim on March 12, 2012, 6:19 GMT

    Can't believe it. Haven't looked more forward to a Shield final in years, and it's one of my favourite sports events in the Australian cricket summer.

    Why didn't they just not show a few of the Ryobi cup games so that they could televise this? Not even a highlights package? Very very disappointed.

  • on March 12, 2012, 6:41 GMT

    Ironic as the Big Bash was supposed to be a money spinner. Very disappointing. I bet they don't even bother with a highlights package. Glad I didn't waste my resources on the BB. Didn't even watch it (there were other options for me too). If Fox get rid of Tests I will happily give up pay TV.

  • kensohatter on March 12, 2012, 6:45 GMT

    Another sign post along the way to the ultimate destruction of test cricket. I just dont understand the hoopla surrounding 20/20. Cricket is a contest between bat and ball... 20/20 is basically a crap version of baseball where batsmen are given all the advantage and can lose a wicket every 2 overs and still be considered a good side. Can anyone truly remember a great 20/20 game, batting or bowling performance? They are designed to generate money in the fastest possible time to the detriment of real skillful cricket. If we keep promoting BBL over shield or 20/20 over test matches baseball (which is already growing and has financial backing to expand in australia) will eat us alive. Cant blame foxtel. Blame the ACB and their lack of vision.

  • on March 12, 2012, 7:04 GMT

    It's amazing how many more things are "unaffordable" today, with a lot more money around, than were twenty to thirty years ago ....

  • on March 12, 2012, 7:21 GMT

    How disappointing this; For those of you who are fans of the four and five day game (Real Cricket) the media has now decided the Sheffield Shield, 150 years worth of tradition and quality cricket isn't worth broadcasting. Yet another insult to this great game. The Sheild competition was serverly sobotaged already this season by the rubbish 20/20 circus during January and now this once great game?

  • RandyOZ on March 12, 2012, 7:29 GMT

    Disgraceful effort. I would've given up the whole BBL series for just the Shield final.

  • Meety on March 12, 2012, 7:37 GMT

    Let SBS show it! Can't believe that One Sport, the channel ten offshoot couldn't do something. Shaping up as a good contest though, I'd have QLD as favourites, as long as Cutting was fit & playing. Another good knock from Joe Burns & he'd have to be on the selectors radar! On the Tassie side of things, Jackson Bird. I just can't believe his stats, the guy is a freak, where has he been for the previous 5 years? If the guy can stay injury free, he'd have to make an International debut sooner or later.

  • on March 12, 2012, 7:44 GMT

    A pity; as a South African cricket fan, the Sheffield Shield has always seemed like the toughest domestic tournament on offer in the cricketing world in terms of strength versus strength. One of the highlights of visiting Lord's in 2009 was seeing the Shield on display at this great ground. Here's hoping that TV space can be found in the future for an important fixture such as this one - the final of a great competition.