Domain Tests v India

Strong ratings for new broadcasters

Fox Sports and Channel Seven received solid ratings on the first day of the opening Test of the summer

AAP & Cricket Network

7 December 2018, 08:50 AM AEST

The new era of cricket broadcasting in Australia has begun with solid ratings for the Seven Network and Fox Sports on day one of the first Test against India.

Seven attracted an average of 414,000 metro viewers across Thursday's three sessions, peaking at 544,000 in the final session, Mumbrella reported.

The national audience for the third session at Adelaide Oval, including regional viewers, was 773,000. A further 214,000 tuned in for the session on Fox Cricket.

While the free-to-air figures are well down from the first Test against India in 2014, the reach is boosted by the addition of subscription and online streaming viewers.

Seven, who along with Fox Sports took over the rights from the Nine Network under a landmark $1.182 billion, six-year broadcast rights deal, claimed to have "comfortably surpassed" internal forecasts.

Glenn McGrath, Tim Lane & James Brayshaw // Getty Images
Glenn McGrath, Tim Lane & James Brayshaw // Getty Images

CA trumpeted a combined national reach of 3,446,000, a figure which counts all viewers tuning in for at least five minutes of coverage on either network.

"The numbers are still being put together, but we do know we reached 3.4 million Australians through the day," Roberts said.

"The third session went particularly well. I'm sure there were many, many Indians tuning in in different parts of the world as well."

The overall ratings are almost certain to have been substantially higher had the Test been played under lights in line with the previous three Adelaide fixtures.

Roberts said India's refusal to play a pink-ball Test in Adelaide had diluted crowd numbers by about 15,000 people.

Fox Sports commentators in action // Getty Images
Fox Sports commentators in action // Getty Images

Roberts says CA will renew its pitch to India to embrace day-night Test cricket in the future.

A crowd of 23,802 attended the opening day of the first Test at Adelaide Oval on Thursday.

"We think we would have had 15,000 or so interstate visitors if it was a day-night Test so there's no doubting we have lost that group of fans," Roberts told SEN radio on Friday.

Adelaide has hosted day-night Tests since 2015 but India refused a CA offer to continue that trend in the series-opener.

Thursday's crowd was the lowest turnout for day one of a Test since Adelaide Oval was redeveloped in 2013.

Cummins, Khawaja lead Aussie charge

In day-night Tests in the past three years, Adelaide's opening-day crowds numbered around 47,000, 32,000 and 55,000.

Asked if those numbers crystallised the desire for the Adelaide Test to be day-night, Roberts replied: "Absolutely."

"You look at the way fans have embraced it," he said.

"It matters what the fans think and they have voted with their feet.

"Those numbers are incredible so we're really excited about getting back to that in the future."

Roberts hoped to convince India of the merits of a day-night Adelaide Test on their next tour of Australia in 2020/21.

"Let's hope so," he said.

"Part of that fabric of cricket both nationally and internationally is so rich so we embrace the fact that they have had a different view about this Test match.

"We hope that the sentiment from fans is something India can see."

Domain Test Series v India

Dec 6-10: First Test, Adelaide Oval

Dec 14-18: Second Test, Perth Stadium

Dec 26-30: Third Test, MCG

Jan 3-7: Fourth Test, SCG

Australia squad: Tim Paine (c, wk), Josh Hazlewood (vc), Mitch Marsh (vc), Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Chris Tremain

India squad: Virat Kohli (c), Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Prithvi Shaw, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant (wk), Parthiv Patel (wk), Ravi Ashwin, Ravi Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar