Who Watches Cricket?

From Kevin Mitchell in The Guardian comes dispiriting news:

There are negative omens everywhere for Australian cricket. Television ratings are down 24% over 10 years; grounds are near empty for all but 20-over games and Ashes Test matches; the only real competitors, Rugby League and Aussie Rules, are booming, with Aussie Rules (AFL) taking up nearly a third of all newspaper coverage; and Australia have just endured the most comprehensive Ashes drubbing by the old enemy. It is enough to test any stalwart’s faith. Cricket, once indisputably the national game, has slipped behind AFL, horse racing, rugby league and motor sport, and sits just ahead of rugby union and soccer, according to the government’s latest attendance statistics.

Those who despise the Australian team, and have chafed for the last two decades under its dominance, enjoy a hearty laugh now. But, I wonder, isn’t this the norm in most white-cricketing nations? Isn’t cricket usually behind rugby and soccer?

Another question: is cricket the game “of the masses” only in India? Or is Indian cricket and its recent popularity more connected with the explosion of the middle class? Who watches cricket?

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One thought on “Who Watches Cricket?

  1. Evan says:

    It always makes me laugh when I hear Crigget (as cricketers pronounce it) is supposedly Australia’s National Sport – whathe??

    One quick look (would have to be quick so you didn’t go to sleep) at the telecast of the current test match and you’ll see the crowd, or lack of it, fairly sparsely spread over the stands. One helluva lot of vacant seats!

    You’ll notice at least half the people at the match have got a beer in their hand, I guess that’s the only way to pass the time whilst there. Just had a thought…..that statement about as boring as watching the grass grow – maybe a lot of them are there to watch the grass grow as it’s more exciting than the game?

    So how is it our National sport?

    Of the hundreds of people I know, there are the grand total of 2 people that watch cricket.

    Drive past a local cricket match on a Saturday and you’ll see all those spectators watching their children playing the game – the crowd of spectators is generally about 4 people. Even the parents of the children can’t stand watching it!

    Less than 1 in 70 children play cricket – National sport, Pffttt!

    It annoys me that we now lose one free-to-air channel because the bloody cricket is on in prime time. How dare they take away a channel for such a tiny audience!

    I happen to like motor sport but I think it would be wrong to telecast motor racing in prime time – just not fair to all those who don’t like it.

    Why, really, is it telecast at all? Is it just that stations like channel 9 have a history of telecasting it and none of them have ever really looked at the return they get from it – are they just telecasting it out of habit? Surely that could be the ONLY answer.

    I think we need a poll on exactly how many people watch it so we can lobby the TV stations to only air it on replay at like 2am or something.

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