February 26, 2014
Last week I was following the Sheffield Shield competition via two websites, ESPN cricinfo and the Cricket Australia website, cricket.com.au.
ESPN cricinfo has always been a favourite site of mine.
With ESPN cricinfo, there is a link to espncricinfo.com/australia, which is all Australian cricket related news.
There’s updated scores, interesting stories, video analysis and player profiles with an endless statistics attached to every player.
The site is linked back to ESPN cricinfo where it shows a broadened view from the cricket world perspective and has links to other countries’ websites.
It is a great site for all cricket nerds.
With cricket.com.au, it is also a good site to follow, however, I will be critical in one key area. It revolves around the live streaming of the Shield matches.
In the latest round, three matches were played at the same time: Western Australia v New South Wales, South Australia v Victoria and Tasmania v Queensland.
There were inconsistencies with the coverage of all three matches.
With the SA v Victoria streaming, there was scoreboard graphics, one or two commentators commenting on the game, and a camera on one each end of the ground. The streaming quality and coverage was satisfactory.
However there were plenty of faults with the other two games. Quite often whenever you click to view the streaming of these matches, you were greeted with this message,
“The video you are trying to watch is currently unavailable. Please check back soon”.
On day three of those games, I couldn’t watch any stream of the WA v NSW game, while with the Tas v Queensland match, it either streamed for a few minutes, or it froze.
Is this a problem that occurs to other Roarers here, or is it my online streaming?
The next day, there was finally some consistent streaming. Although the streaming and coverage of both matches were inferior in quality compared to the South Australia v Vic game.
In those matches, there was no scoreboard graphics, no commentators, and there was only one camera broadcasting from only one end of the ground..
Why is it that one Shield match (South Australia v Vic) covers it very differently to the other two?
I would have thought that every Shield game be covered the same way, but sadly that’s not the case.
Here we are in 2014, the Sheffield Shield competition, a level below Test cricket is covered very similarly to ABC TV in the 1970s before World Series Cricket came on the scene.
In an era where we have a variety of gadgets like smart or iPhones, I would’ve thought that improving coverage and streaming of Sheffield Shield games be a top priority .
Last year in a Sports Business Insider article headlined “The future of digital media in the NRL” there was a story about how the NRL is trying to improve it’s structure and operations by establishing an NRL Digital Media.
It talks about how the NRL wants to provide expanded and editorial coverage to fans across all platforms.
Later in that article, it highlighted a table showing the domain rankings for all of our domestic competitions and comparing them with other domain names from other competitions around the world.
At the time of that article, on August 27th, 2013, the domain name of NRL.com was globally ranked 12,936, while in Australia, it ranked 163. It was behind the AFL domain name of AFL.com.au which ranked 5,663 globally, and 64th in Australia.
Cricket.com.au fell way short of the two football codes. It’s domain name was globally ranked 54, 787. In Australia, 2,195.
Judging by those numbers from last year, Cricket Australia has some work to do to improve the domains ranking. One way to improve it’s ranking is to improve the coverage of the Sheffield Shield.
Cricket Australia should never treat the Sheffield Shield competition with contempt. Not only is it an important pathway for a future Test cricketer, it is also a competition that is loved by many fans around Australia.
It is a competition that deserves better coverage in this day and age of modern technology.
It is a competition that deserves respect.