Friday, 31 October 2014

Equal Prize Money Is The Right Thing To Do...

... Even If It Is "Economically Absurd"!

Prior to yesterday's Women In Sport conference at Lord's, The Boss tweeted:

"Equal prize money for our sport is economically absurd but might be overdue for others."

Overlooking the "special pleading", is she right?

The BBC's recent survey of the prize money "gender gap" doesn't show cricket in a particularly great light - the World Cup (sic!) winners get £47 thousand... the Men's World Cup winners get £2.5 million!

Would it be "economically absurd" to close this gap? It is certainly a BIG gap, so I guess closing it might be considered "absurd"... but surely it's something we should, at the very least, have an aspiration to move towards.

It is worth saying at this point that I'm NOT arguing that Lottie be paid the same salary as Alistair Cook (sorry Lottie!) nor still (as some have suggested) that there be some bizarre (and frankly unworkable) requirement to equalize their sponsorship deals.

But equalizing the PRIZE MONEY could be done over time - where there is a will, there is a way; and (as I suspect The Boss knows too, in her heart of hearts) it would be The Right Thing To Do™.

Monday, 20 October 2014

West Indies & Australia Top Women's International Championship

With the first round of matches now completed, it's West Indies and Australia leading the way in the Women's International Championship.

West Indies6
South Africa3
Sri Lanka3
New Zealand0

It's early days, of course, but it is already looking like the really interesting battle will be for the final, 4th place, World Cup qualifying slot.

The second round begins next month, with West Indies travelling to Australia, which should be an exciting series.

England meanwhile head to New Zealand after Christmas. Home advantage can be a big factor in women's cricket, as it is in "The Other Game" - West Indies whitewashed New Zealand at home; but just six months ago, the boot was on the other foot as they lost 0-3 in New Zealand. So New Zealand will be hoping to get some points on the board against England, and I think that series will be competitive too.

In the other round two match-ups, Pakistan face Sri Lanka at home; and South Africa travel to India.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Sky, Exclusivity & Bundling

Believe it or not, I don’t have a problem with paying for cricket! Despite my campaign for the 2017 Women’s World Cup in England to be made available on Free-To-Air TV, I’d be delighted to reach into my wallet for a half-decent stream of England Women’s up-coming tour to New Zealand; and although I’ll almost-certainly be at the games, I’d otherwise be happy to pay Sky to watch next summer’s Women’s Ashes in England.

But… I do have two major issues with Sky Cricket: exclusivity and bundling.


Sky quite literally "own" cricket in this country - there will be no live cricket shown on Free-To-Air TV next year, meaning kids can’t/ don’t watch, and the game is slowly painting itself into a very nichey corner.

But this isn’t the biggest problem with exclusivity: it’s that even when Sky don’t want to show the games, no one else is able to do so. To be fair, Sky gave the ECB special dispensation to live-stream 3 women’s ODIs last summer, but really it needs to be codified into the contract, so that if Sky don’t want to show (to quote just one example) the group stages of the Women’s World T20, someone else can.

Additionally, it is vital that some cricket (men’s and women’s) is made available Free-To-Air - and the World Cup seems a reasonable place to start with that - after all, the football World Cup is an ‘A Listed’ event, and that doesn’t seem to have caused it to have collapsed into financial penury and irrelevance!


A Sky subscription with Sky Sports costs around £45 a month. That’s a lot of money when you add it all up over the year; but at least it goes to fund grass roots cricket… right?


Well… sort of!

Sky do pay the ECB a chunk of cold, hard cash, some of which goes to grass roots cricket; BUT... of your £45 Sky sub, less than a fiver (a lot less) actually goes to cricket - most of it goes to football, for which Sky pay over a billion pounds a year - an order of magnitude more than the £100m they pay to cricket. So while your Sky subscription is supporting grass roots cricket… it’s supporting Wayne Rooney & Co. a lot, lot more!

This is where the government and the courts might need to step in once again. Sky really shouldn’t be able to get away with this - making the purchase of a monopoly product (cricket) dependent upon the purchase of another (near) monopoly product (football) is surely bordering upon market abuse?

So, here's the deal Sky: I'd happily pay £15 a month, to watch all the England internationals - men's and women's. Under such circumstances, almost everyone would be better off - Sky would have another subscriber; the ECB would get their cut; and I'd be able to legally watch cricket at home. The only person who wouldn't be better off is Wayne Rooney, but... frankly... who's Wayne Rooney?

Saturday, 11 October 2014

TV Listed Events Gender Biased

The Ofcom Code on Sports [PDF] governs a list of sporting events which have to be shown on Free-To-Air TV in the UK. The idea is to ensure that the "crown jewels" of sport remain accessible to all; but sadly this list is woefully out of kilter with the times and indisputably gender-biased.

Of the 11 A List events which have to be shown live, 5 are mixed events, 6 are men's events, and none are women's events

Despite the fact that all 6 of the men's events on the A List have a women's equivalent, the women's event is excluded - cast out, with little or no accessible coverage. For instance, this year's (Women's) Rugby World Cup Final - magnificently won by England - was not shown on Free-To-Air TV, depriving 6 million girls of the opportunity to be inspired by the likes of Emily Scarratt and Katy McLean.

The secondary B List of events for which highlights have to be shown is similarly skewed - 3 mixed events, 6 men's events, no women's events,

Any right-thinking person would have to agree that this is a disgrace; so let's get it changed by demanding that the 2017 Women's Cricket World Cup is added to the A List!

Click here to sign the petition and make a difference to women's sport!


A List - Mixed Events
  1. Wimbledon Finals
  2. The Olympics
  3. The Paralympics
  4. The Grand National 
  5. The Derby
A List - Men's Events
  1. FA Cup Final
  2. World Cup Finals
  3. UEFA Cup Finals
  4. Scottish Cup Final
  5. Rugby League Challenge Cup Final
  6. Rugby World Cup Final
A List - Women's Events
B List - Mixed Events
  1. Wimbledon (Except Finals)
  2.  Commonwealth Games
  3. World Athletics Championships
B List - Men's Events
  1. Home Cricket Tests
  2. Rugby World Cup (Except Final)
  3. Rugby 6 Nations ("Home" Nations Matches)
  4. Cricket World Cup (Semis + Final + England)
  5. The Ryder Cup
  6. The Open Golf*
B List Women's Events
* Technically mixed, but...

Friday, 10 October 2014

Aussie Contracted Players Hopeful Re. WICL

Southern Stars Erin Osborne and Ellyse Perry have become (as far as I know) the first Australian or English contracted players to come out explicitly in support of the Women's International Cricket League.

In an interview for the Sydney Morning Herald, Osborne is quoted as saying: "Hopefully the WICL will get up and running; bring the world's best closer." And Ellyse Perry is reported as having "agreed".

So far, support for WICL from Australia/ England contracted players has been expressed only in private - with the boards (particularly the ECB) forthright in their opposition to the project, the players know which side of the bread their butter is on!

So you have to wonder whether this represents a further softening in Cricket Australia's stance? You'd think that Perry in particular wouldn't be saying anything without having cleared it with The Powers That Be; so that has to be good news for WICL... and that's good news for us fans too, who continue to live in hope!

One Weird Trick To Inspire 6 Million Girls To Play More Sport

Everyone wants to increase participation in women's sport - MORE GIRLS PLAYING MORE SPORT is the professed aim of the government and the boards of all our biggest games: the English Cricket Board, the Football Association and the Rugby Football Union.

Coaching clinics; club open days; school visits... they're all fantastic. In cricket, the ECB's Chance to Shine initiative has reached over 2 million kids over the years.

But there's a way to reach SIX million girls and 12 million children; not to mention the 60 million adults who live here too - by showing women's sport live on Free-To-Air TV.

We all know that nothing inspires kids like being able to SEE their heroes, so let's start our women's sporting revolution with the 2017 Women's Cricket World Cup!

WWC17 is going to be one of the biggest stand-alone women's sporting events ever held anywhere - a celebration of women's sport that everyone can share.

So let's get our Women's Cricket World Cup shown live on Free-To-Air TV.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Women's World Cup 2017 Consigned To Pay-TV

The 2017 Women's World Cup in 2017 looks like being an exclusively Pay-TV affair, as BT Sport and Sky compete to win a contract which covers all ICC events - men's and women's - between 2015 and 2023.

Sky are the incumbent broadcaster, but with BT Sport looking to muscle-in on the cricketing action, they are also rumoured to have put-forward a big-money bid for the rights to show the Men's World Cups in 2019 and 2023... and whoever wins that little battle will get all the big women's events, including England 2017 and New Zealand 2021, thrown in "for free".

Of course, the ICC would respond that it isn't "for free" but I ask you this:

Do you really think Sky and/or BT Sport would have bid a penny less if the women's events hadn't been included in the package?

(The answer, by the way, is No!)

With the 2017 Women's World Cup there was/is a massive opportunity to grow the game in this country; but visibility is everything; and with the games consigned to Pay-TV, how much visibility is there really going to be?

This could have been our '2005 Ashes' moment - an event that captured the wider public's imagination!

WWC '17 coulda been a contender... and we all know how that line ends!