The ICC Cricket World Cup is underway down under. Over the next six weeks cricket’s biggest event is taking place in Australia and New Zealand. Cricket fans around the world will be able to see the game played at its highest level. One estimate puts the audience for the India-Pakistan match, which has been likened to war without the guns, at 1 billion, that’s with a B as in bat, ball, bowl and big.
As I have mentioned elsewhere, what I know about cricket would fit in Jiminy’s vest pocket, so I thought this huge event would give me an opportunity to familiarize myself with the game that is loved by millions. I’m not ready for a Cricket tutor just yet, preferring to have a go at it by myself (did I mention I taught myself to ride a bike?). So I did a little research online, printed out a cheat-sheet of basics and looked forward to watching a match.
Part of that research was to see who had the Canadian television rights. Sure enough it was the communications giant Rogers. They bragged about all 49 matches being available to Canadian viewers. Available indeed, but at a premium. For a mere $179.99 you can have pay-per-view access to the matches. Or for $129.99 you can tune in just the playoffs and final. And if that’s too much $99.00 will get you the final. Yep, one-hundred bucks for one cricket match.
So much for educating myself; the basics of cricket will remain a mystery to me as I have no intention of paying a penny; make that an extra penny, as I already pay for the Rogers SportsNet package. It seems to me this may be a slippery slope in the sports broadcasting world. What next? Will the Olympics only be available to viewers on a PPV basis? The Super Bowl?
I find this to be a tacky cash-grab. Given that the vast majority of potential Canadian-based viewers originally come from cricket-loving countries, is this an unfair surcharge levied on immigrants?