Guy Lavender, Chief Executive of MCC, said he'd be "surpised" if the Cricket World Cup final, which is being held at Lord's, will be free-to-air. He added: "We all want to see the World Cup on free-to-air and we want to see cricket on free-to-air but the commercial realities are different."
Lavender said: "Sky have underpinned cricket for many many years but the new broadcast deal which is coming will see cricket return to free-to-air in a much more significant way for both international and domestic cricket. That’s got to be a good thing. So there is a balance to be struck. I’d like to see the Cricket World Cup Final played on free-to-air. Rather parochially I’d like to see the Lord’s Test played on free-to-air as well."
The MCC Chief Executive was speaking alongside the former Sri Lankan cricketer and President Designate of the MCC Kumar Sangakkara and former England cricketeer and double world champion Claire Taylor at an invitation-only business breakfast held by MCC and supported by Sport Industry Group.
Lavender and his fellow panellists spoke candidly and openly about the free-to-air debate and cricket’s need to get as many people as possible to watch the sport but all acknowledged the commercial necessity of pay-tv and finding the right balance between the two.
While Lavender acknowledged the many ways today’s fans consume content, he added, “I still think free-to-air is your key driver for raising people’s awareness. I mean lots of people won’t know the cricket world cup is on, let’s be realistic about it.”
With regards to MCC, Lavender admitted that: “Public perception is effectively of an old duffer’s club” but he explained the multiple ways it is changing and involving the community helping make it a, “much mover vibrant and diverse club than it appears from the outside.”
MCC plan to use the summer of cricket to change those perceptions and Lavender stated a “general appetite for change” at Lord’s.