Monday, November 02, 2015

It's the TV stupid!

Sport is so much about time and place. The Rugby World Cup Final on Saturday was well staged at Twickenham. But it wasn't just the gormless "singing" of "Swing Low" by a well-tanked contingent of England supporters which made me wish I was somewhere else. The Semi-finalists had all been from the Southern Hemisphere (deservedly so). So when we got to the final was the history and tradition of Twickenham going to add much to the experience? Not really. This was an Australasian affair and Twickenham seemed almost embarrassed to be hosting it. Though a competent job was done.

I'm writing this in Sharjah where I'm watching the Pakistan v England Test match. Should we be here? Of course not. We should be in Karachi or Lahore - we all know why we are not. In an empty ground the cricketers of both sides are engaged in proper cricket despite the soulessness of the venue. Well done them. But sport needs the spectators to care to work. At a full Twickenham many in Black or Grren and Gold did. But too many were there because they were there. And could afford to be. At Sharjah valiant bunches of England and Pakistan supporters occasionally try to make an impact -but their voices disappear into silence in this sepulchral venue.

For the TV it doesn't much matter where a contest takes place. I really doubt that the viewers of the Rugby final cared where it was being played. Similarly the TV viewers of this Test Match in London or Lahore I suspect neither know nor care where the ground is. It's the TV stupid.