Congratulations to The Perth Scorchers on a phenomenal win to make it to the final of the Big Bash League T20 Cricket competition. The way in which they came back after rain delays and having to beat the good old Duckworth-Lewis system was incredible. It now means Western Australia has both the male and female teams in T20 Finals with the Western Fury taking on the NSW breakers prior to the men’s finals.
Sadly though, many of those fans who attended the semi-final on wednesday night are faced with a huge dilemma. The start of the men’s final is 5pm, and if any of those fans play in local competitions they will still be at their games, unless they have managed to record an outright victory.
No doubt the game will still be a sell-out and Cricket Australia and the bean counters will be patting each other on the back and telling each other what a success the competition has been, but they are forgetting one key element, you should never alienate your key supporters.
Those who play cricket in WA would make up a large percentage of those wanting to attend the final, a fair proportion would be WACA members, and now with the timing of the final they will be forced to decide whether to let their club side down and attend or simply take it on the chin that they are not going to be able to attend.
It is accepted in sport today that the players receive the big dollars due to television money, but does that mean the sports administrators should sell their soul for that money?
Not The Footy Show does not know if the WACA argued long and hard on behalf of its fans to have a later start, but shouldn’t the organisation that has won the right to host the final, a final from which they hope to maximise incoming revenue, not have a say in when the game is played? Is that not their right?
It would appear that Cricket Australia, has kow-towed to the television company broadcasting the final, who want to air it on the East Coast at a reasonable hour, thereby attracting top dollar from advertisers to this their key market. The fact that in Summer Western Australia falls to three hours behind the two key cities of Sydney and Melbourne has meant that the game must start at 5pm so that it can be aired at 8pm on the East Coast and should be finished by just after 11pm.
Some will say who cares, in fact when the game is sold out the WACA administrators may well not give the matter another thought. However sport is supposed to be for the fans, and if success sees your core fans alienated because someone has chosen to sell control to a third party that is extremely foolish. On a day that Western Australia should be celebrating many are accepting that it is indeed a very sad day for Cricket as this decision shows who truly controls the game, and it is not Cricket’s administration.