If county cricket is played at the end of this summer – whether behind closed-doors or perhaps with a smattering of socially-distanced spectators – the importance of live streaming all the action, via club websites or on social media channels, will be a crucial factor in the domestic game’s ‘new normal’, writes Mark Baldwin…
Richard Gould, Surrey’s chief executive, says his county’s initiatives in recent seasons as one of the pioneers of the live streaming service has shown just what is possible even with a modest budget. “As many as six cameras can be operated in an affordable fashion,” said Gould. “OK, so it won’t be a Sky Sports level production but in the current situation whatever we do will be worth doing.
“Counties could, conceivably, put their coverage of matches behind a members’ paywall if they wanted to but I think it will be vitally important, to all county supporters and to county club sponsors, to get match action out to the wider public.”
Surrey began live streaming in 2017, synced with commentary from BBC London’s Mark Church and Johnny Barran, and in 2018 introduced a replay function for key moments. Last season Surrey’s coverage was ramped up to five cameras at the Oval – the two behind the bowlers’ arm and three others in fixed positions around the ground – and they are hopeful that more new cameras will this summer provide additional quality hi-resolution and super slo-mo pictures.
They also plan to beef up interactivity, such as a chat room facility, and to have ‘on call’ pre-packaged video footage to augment the live pictures when appropriate.