Two England teams have reached the semi-finals of a World Cup this summer.
And while the country’s men’s cricket team might still win their competition (this is being written before the semi-final against Australia), you can make a massive case for our nation’s female footballers making a much greater impact on society.
That isn’t to undermine the efforts of those with bat and ball in our nation’s supposed number one summer sport.
But in my opinion, those in the power positions above them really haven’t helped.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) made a seismic decision off the back of an incredible 2005 Ashes series that turned our victorious heroes into front-page news. That enthralling Channel Four battle against Australia inspired a generation and created an almost never-before-seen interest in Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff and co. Box office characters were wanted by box office broadcasters.
Sky, as they often do, came along with an eye-watering offer and the ECB – who have come in for huge criticism at times since – cashed the cheque. Their motive, apparently, was to reinvest the vast sums gained that weren’t on offer from terrestrial broadcasters back into the game to boost participation levels.
Moving to Sky didn’t do Premier League football any harm at all yet the beautiful game is an entirely different beast. So while participation numbers for football have risen since Sky’s input, cricket’s figures have declined – many citing the lack of mainstream coverage as a reason.
The reach of the Women’s World Cup on BBC took ladies’ football to a peak audience of 10 million more people than its cricketing counterpart.
That’s 20 million extra eyes witnessing the exploits of our country’s finest, many of whom have now been inspired to lace up their boots.
Cricket must be concerned enough about their low figures for Sky to consider screening the final (if England made it) for free so the showcase occasion can have a greater reach.
Moments like these live long in the memory and they need to be cherished and witnessed by as many people as possible.
It’s a shame millions of people have missed out on enjoying what’s happened already this summer.
Many say cricket sold its soul to Sky. It isn’t the first sport to cash in on the good times and it won’t be the last. Yet you could argue it isn’t reaping the rewards at grassroots level.
While interest levels in cricket, in the main, are dying, the same can’t be said for women’s football, thanks to a summer of heightened BBC exposure that has helped its heart beat that little bit stronger.
The record UK TV audience for a women’s football match was broken four times during this World Cup.
11.7 million people watched England’s semi-final defeat to eventual winners USA.
England’s group stage win against India at the Cricket World Cup was watched by a peak audience of just 1.78 million.
Sky have paid £1.1 billion to the ECB to show all domestic home games from 2020 to 2024.
Take a watch of ‘our’ video
As promised I’m letting you know that one of the British Touring Car Championship films ‘we’ produced is live.
The video from our trip to Croft will be available to watch soon. But right now you can already enjoy some of the Maze Media Group’s creative efforts, on behalf of Sterling Insurance, following Alex Thaxton and Max Gill’s visit to Team PMR’s garage.
It’s an awesome insight into motorsport. Watch it at facebook.com/sterlinginsuranceUK
RECENTLY – WE ASKed…
Who would you like to take to the stage for the third Caney’s Corner Live?
• This week’s poll…
Has cricket’s ability to attract people to the game benefitted more, or less, from Sky paying a huge sum of money in 2005 to gain exclusive rights to broadcast international cricket?
Get involved, vote and comment, on Twitter