Last week Middlesex Cricket were honoured, that for the first time ever, Sky Sports broadcast a live county cricket stream, produced by the Club, on its main Sky Cricket channel.
For Middlesex to be that county is testament to the quality of the enhanced live streams that the Club has been producing since it began the broadcasting service for members and fans back at the start of the 2020 season.
Last summer, after the first four months of the season were cancelled, and with all scheduled matches being restricted to being played behind closed doors, the Club was keen to ensure our members and fans were able to enjoy the very best action possible from the comfort and safety of their own homes.
The new enhanced service offered manned broadcast cameras, our own commentary team, comprising Adam Collins and Izzy Westbury, and a greatly enhanced viewing experience, with cameras that would follow the ball from bat to boundary, replacing the old static cameras that used to sit behind the bowlers’ arm at each end. A pitchside manned camera gave viewers a more immersive viewing experience, and live replays gave an instant playback of all the key match action.
It was a service that was very well received, with our live streams viewed well over 1.5 million times on YouTube - from just 11 days of cricket in 2020! Based on the production quality of our live streams, the Club were then commissioned to produce the footage for the 2020 Bob Willis Trophy final at Lord’s in September, with the match coverage played out live on both ECB’s and Sky’s YouTube channels and also on the BBC iPlayer - a real feather in the Club’s cap for the work that had gone into this area last summer.
Last week, a little over eight months later, and the cancellation of the Indian Premier League led to Sky calling Middlesex to ask whether the Club would be prepared to produce their live stream for broadcast on Sky Cricket, with the match going out live on Sky’s main cricket channel – it was an opportunity the Club jumped at.
Middlesex Cricket’s Head of Marketing and Communications, Steven Fletcher, commented:
“For us to be selected by Sky Cricket to run our live stream on their main channel was a wonderful opportunity that we were only too happy to accommodate. We were genuinely honoured that our live stream was chosen as the one that they wanted to broadcast.
“Ever since we started broadcasting our enhanced live stream, I have always stated that our vision was to produce something that replicated the experience of watching a TV style cricket broadcast - hence our decision to use manned cameras. For the end result of that vision to be our live stream actually being shown live on Sky Cricket was testament to the amount of work the team have put into this over the last year.
“Watching the Sky opening titles play in, accompanied by the Sky Cricket soundtrack, followed by our own live stream, was a sight to behold, and our thanks go to Sky for the faith and belief they had in us to produce something that was deemed of high enough quality by them to be aired on their channel.
“It was terrific to work with the Sky team and the Sky commentary team, who were brought in for the game, and whilst the on-pitch result was certainly not what we were hoping for, we were thrilled with how well the production of the stream itself went.”
Commenting to Fletcher on working with the Middlesex Cricket team on the production, Robin Reeve, Senior Producer at Sky, commented:
“It was an absolute pleasure to work with you and your dedicated team at Lord’s last week. Everything ran smoothly and everyone was so helpful, and willing to go the extra mile – I was incredibly impressed!
“We were made to feel welcome the moment we arrived at the Grace Gates, and I know the commentators also enjoyed working with you all.
“Hopefully the cricketing fortunes on the field will improve soon, so that the excellent stream coverage has a more positive story to tell for all the Middlesex fans!”
The success of last week’s Middlesex production now sees the Sky team heading to Cardiff, where they will replicate Middlesex’s own production set-up, to cover the four-day game between Glamorgan and Yorkshire.
For Middlesex, it’s business as usual, and the Club will be back on air at 10.50am this coming Thursday, bringing you all the action from round six of the County Championship clash between Middlesex and Hampshire on our live and enhanced stream.
Our thanks go to all at Sky for this wonderful opportunity.