Why did Channel 9 snub the T20 World Cup Final?

Why did Channel 9 snub the T20 World Cup Final?

Channel 9
The record-breaking T20 World Cup final between India and Australia attracted a little over 86,000 people to the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday, but it still wasn’t enough to get on Nine’s primary television channel.

It was relegated to the secondary channel, Gem, a decision the network says is consistent with its approach to cricket, but has attracted considerable criticism regardless.

Prominent champion of women in sport, and AFLW pioneer, Susan Alberti, described it as “absolutely disgraceful”.

“This is a World Cup, a world championship and our Australian women’s team is in the final,” she said. “I don’t see why that other show couldn’t be postponed and people can watch it later.

‘That other show’ Alberti refers to is the ratings bonanza, Married At First Sight.

The T20 World Cup final attracted a record breaking crowd, to make it the most attended women’s sporting event in Australia and for any women’s cricket match globally. Considering Australia, like many other countries, is in the midst of a health pandemic that is impacting behaviour these figures are even more astonishing.

 

The T20 World Cup final was more than a sporting event. On International Women’s Day it was the most welcome, tangible, manifestation of progress and the power of equality. Proof that change is possible. That just because things have always been done a certain way, that’s the way it has to be.

The tournament and final itself and the interest it generated, on screen, in real life and on social media, is further conclusive proof that when given the chance women’s sport is every bit as popular and dynamic as men’s.

On Sunday, Marina Go reflected on the fact that even a year ago the idea of the World Cup Final being held at the MCG was courageous.

The leadership and vision was vindicated when the event very nearly filled the entire MCG.  (And my personal take is that had the Corona-virus not been a front of mind concern for plenty of Australians the MCG would have been fully filled.)

And yet, it still wasn’t enough to warrant the main channel on Nine which has been framed as a snub.

Ratings out today indicate the cricket audience averaged 531,000 for the game that ran from 6pm until just after 9pm. The national cricket audience was 825,000 and an extra 341,000 were watching Fox Cricket.

Even a year ago, the idea of women’s sport attracting these types of numbers, to the ground itself as well as TV, may have appeared far-fetched. From now on it shouldn’t.  Australia’s team last night put on an absolutely stunning and compelling display that, evidently, almost a million Australians wanted to watch. Imagine if it had been on the main station?

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