Pirate internet streams were once described as “the biggest danger to the future of the sport”. Greater than dwindling Test crowds; as vilified as match fixing. Why? Because they put no money into the game. For a sport awash with cash, it is a strange worry. Two decades ago, the ICC’s revenue was a meagre £100,000 (Haigh 2012). They now command deals worth 10,000 times that amount.
Given this, it seems churlish for administrators to fret over murky corners of the internet. Surely they should be glad fans are finding new ways to follow the game they love? Not so. Even small web outlets like Test Match Sofa* leave some feeling vulnerable. Take Jonathan Agnew’s outburst over how the internet radio station was undermining the game. At the heart of it is a deep-seated fear over how technology is threatening to break-up the broadcasting cartel that bankrolls the game.
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