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Last year I was thrilled to hear that Channel 10 here in Australia had bought the rights to the IPL and was going to show it free-to-air, even though we had Foxtel at home. I was even more impressed with the quality of the coverage and the high number of live games. This year I was expecting a level of dedication and performance that exceeded 2008 levels, only because of Channels 10's launch of its 24 hour sports only channel, One HD. I'm not much of a whinger, but I and many others have been left gobsmacked after the first two weeks of IPL2. And how?
In stark contrast to last year, this year's broadcasting performance by One HD has been nothing short of appalling. It doesn't take much to please a cricket fan in Australia. Here are some very simple ways One HD can improve its thus diabolical performance as far as IPL2 is concerned:
1. Show live games where you can, even if you've been unable to show the first game live of a double-headier, show the second live and replay the first.
2. Re-runs of the netball, basketball, F1, baseball or any other sport should not take precedence when you have the capability and the viewership to show live IPL. No TV executive can tell me that a repeat of a netball game draws more viewers than live T20 cricket - even I know this much.
3. When you're showing replays, guys show the whole over even if the last ball is a dot ball (yes dot balls are valued by more people than just the fielding side) - it's really not that difficult a concept to grasp.
4. When you have been advertising throughout the week a game is going to be live, show it live. Changing your programming at the last second, with no notice, is a sure-fire way to lose goodwill for the channel and your "foundation sponsors".
5. If you can't give sufficient live airtime to a sport to which you bought the rights, palm it off to Foxtel (it'll only add further value to my already loved subscription). I and most others certainly don't mind paying for a quality product.
One HD has promised a lot and sports fans, particularly cricket fans, have supported the channel in droves. I hope it doesn't become another also-ran of the sports broadcasting world - because, on current performance, it sure is heading in that direction real fast. Time for Channel 10 / One HD to walk the talk about sharing the passion.
If you have had it with One HD's treatment of its IPL2 rights, don't sit there and bear it. Get vocal here.
Where's Lalit Modi when you need him?
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