The wife and I decided to pay for the premium CBC MCTV channel “Sportsmax” so that we could follow the exploits of the West Indies team in England. Let me say that I was not keen at the idea but the wife is an avid cricket fan for reasons which we can discuss on another occasion. Just imagine our disgust on the weekend as we sat on the sofa following the spirited performance of the Sarwan led team, BAM, football appeared on the screen out of the blue. We consoled ourselves that it was a glitch which would sort itself out in short order, but after ten minutes we knew that something was up. A call to the CBC confirmed the unthinkable-the test match broadcast would be interrupted to broadcast the FA Cup football. Imagine our horror, the mid-day expectation of a relaxing time with the wife on the sofa eating cheese and biscuits with tall glasses of mauby was now shattered, both of us are no football fans.
Anyway the good news is that unlike cricket a football game will rarely extend past 2 hours so that our disappointment was sooth later in the afternoon. However the incident has remained in my mind for the reason that as a cricket playing nation we are getting it completely wrong as far as broadcasting cricket in the region goes. Can anyone imagine football in Latin America or baseball in the USA being interrupted by a lesser sport? How is it that our national sport, King cricket has now been relegated to cable and the largest media group, Starcom Network in Barbados which boast of 100,000 listenership has decided to not bring coverage for economic reasons. Why is it that a region that is reputed to have spent close to one billion dollars to host CWC 2007 not take the required decisions to permit the broadcast of cricket to a wider cross-section of its citizens so that the momentum from CWC 2007 can be taken advantage of? So many questions came to mind that BU just had to “dump” on our readers tonight before hitting the sack.
It is no secret that at BU we feel that cricket is dying – for reasons mainly associated with our changing society- and the money spent on CWC was just too much. A few articles can be found on BU explaining our position to death. Back to the thrust of our concern on why the Sportsmax cable channel would interrupt cricket to deliver football. We were told that the company owns only one channel and a decision was taken to interrupt the cricket to satisfy the football fans in the region. We suppose that if we were in the shoes of Mr. MacIntosh who is the CEO of IMC, the parent of Sportsmax, we might do the same for economic reasons. This paradox which occurred on the weekends clearly illustrates that as a region we have it all wrong when our national team would be playing the first test of a series at Lords and a privileged few with cable which includes the Sportsmax channel would be the only ones to witness the event in Barbados. The fact that we had to suffer the interruption of football we have since taken in stride as the sign of a changing time.
What struck us for six was when we did a search on the Internet to read-up on Sportsmax and stumbled on the following nugget of information:
Now, McIntosh is right where his heart’s desire is back home mixing hobby with business. He is the managing director at IMC, whose other main partners are former captain of the West Indies cricket team, Courtney Walsh; Dehring, Bunting and Golding’s Chris Dehring and Rousseau. IMC is based in St. Lucia and is the parent company of Financial Channel (FC), SPORTS MAX Limited and Caribbean Sports Marketing with its operations at 14-16 Trinidad Terrace in New Kingston.
Source: Jamaican Gleaner
Now knock me down with a feather! To think that these are the guys who have been thumping their chests as the saviours of cricket but in another role they have secured the rights to our cricket and have chosen to deliver it in a way that will make money for them. To hell with the region and the idea that a reasonably priced cricket package could serve as a fillip to the young boys and girls in the region who should still be pumped after CWC 2007.