Shield final coverage resurrected
Tasmania's Sheffield Shield title defence against Queensland at the Gabba will now be shown on television after the pay television provider agreed to provide full coverage of the competition decider.
As reported by ESPNcricinfo, the final was set to be played without full television coverage for the first time since 2007, as Fox Sports had decided the schedule was too packed to show the game.
The greater number of outside broadcasts required by this summer's Twenty20 Big Bash League and their attendant cost was also a factor.
Instead, Fox had planned to provide a two-camera webcast from the Gabba, with Brendon Julian and Mark Waugh to comment on the match from the studio.
However upon returning to work following a Monday public holiday in Melbourne, Cricket Australia and Fox Sports have thrashed out a deal to show the final in full from Friday on its main channels, relegating parts of the concurrent Test match between New Zealand and South Africa in Hamilton to the "red button" multi-channel option.
It is understood the extra use of multi-channel technology required an increase in the bandwidth provided to Fox Sports by its parent pay television service Foxtel. The webcast will also go ahead, meaning viewers without a Fox subscription will be able to watch the final.
"We are delighted to confirm the Sheffield Shield Final will be broadcast live and in full on Fox Sports and will be streamed simultaneously on the Fox Sports website," the Fox Sports chief executive Patrick Delany said. "We are committed to over 183 hours of live sport from Friday through to Tuesday so it's been a challenge with scheduling.
"But we've worked with Foxtel to enable the match to be broadcast live with coverage of the final two days of the second Test between New Zealand and South Africa moving to Viewer's Choice and available via the red button on Fox Sports 1.
"Fox Sports has broadcast the Sheffield Shield Final live each year since the 2007-08 season and we are once again looking forward to providing live coverage, both on television and online, of one of Australia's iconic sporting events."
Players on both sides were happy to hear that the match would now be televised, and the Bulls fast bowler Ryan Harris said it provided a greater incentive for the younger players in particular to display their talents.
"It's always good when you're on TV, it's always great when you know people are watching," Harris told ESPNcricinfo. "When I read that it wasn't being televised I was disappointed, because I myself in the years I've been in the country and not played in the final, I've sat and watched it. Young guys get recognised if they play well and a lot of people get to know the younger guys and the new guys if they do play well.
"Personally it wouldn't make too much difference because I have had time where I've been on TV and got used to that. But for younger guys definitely it will make a big difference, because they know a lot more people are watching, it may add a bit more nerves before they walk out and play. When I heard it was definitely on TV I was happy with that and I'm glad the right decision's been made."
The ABC will provide a national digital radio broadcast of the final, with local radio stations to offer coverage into Queensland and Tasmania.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here