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  • Cited by 1
  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: September 2012

4 - Broadcasting and cricket in England


No survey of cricket in England since the Second World War would be complete without a discussion of its relationship with broadcasting. Radio and television have provided instantaneous reporting of top-level cricket. The leading commentators have been among the game's star personalities and, while most have specialised in one medium, they have usually worked in both radio and television. The BBC has always dominated radio coverage of cricket and had a near monopoly of televised cricket until the 1990s. But radio and television have presented differing images of cricket and have had different impacts on its organisation and finances. Radio has done more to reflect the traditional atmosphere of cricket while television has done more to stimulate change in cricket.

The scale of cricket broadcasting

The scale of cricket broadcasting has reinforced cricket's standing as one of England's leading sports. Given the relatively small numbers who attend matches, one can argue that broadcasting has exaggerated the significance of cricket. BBC radio match coverage started in 1927 and by the end of the 1930s it broadcast cricket for more hours than any other sport. Since the start of Test Match Special (TMS) in 1957, which has provided live commentary on every ball of Test matches played in England, cricket has probably been the sport broadcast for most hours on national radio, while local radio also has extensive coverage. The BBC coverage of the England– Australia Test at Lord's in 1938 was the first cricket match broadcast by television anywhere in the world.