The Battle for the Ashes – but who won?

The Battle for the Ashes is now over.

But the debate remains – who won?

Was the SBS Stuart MacGill presentation, idents, sponsors and all, better than FOX Sports with their interactive features, newspaper links, ad campaign and star staffers including Brendon Julian, Mark Waugh and Allan Border?

Of particular note was the SBS Promo for the series. Produced by Tactic, the SBS promo oozes nostalgia and emotion with the greats past and present:

Compared to FOX Sports using the latest series footage highlights, production technology and a very hip soundtrack to appeal to the new fans.

And I think that this is the difference. Cricket is going through a quiet revolution, discarding the dusty past in favour of the digital, youthful future. And not just targeting the new younger viewer, but the traditional cricket fan as more and more older users embrace the advantages of on-line and on-screen TV interactivity.

Both websites recognized the importance of the web, but FOX Sports were able to present the digital interactive features on screen during the game and through the use of digital recorders allowed playback of vital moments. This is where the future of the game and TV lies.

A great example is in a post below: Fox Sports viewers make the call on Katich – The Ashes 2009 – Fox Sports – Viewers of FOX Sports 3 bombarded the SKY UK commentary team with their “point of view” via email in Freddie Flintoff’s bowling of Katich – noting the no ball courtesy of the I.Q. Playback.

SKY Sports UK produced a fantastic series which both SBS and FOX Sports used, but the pre-show specials and interviews from Nick McArdle and Damien Flemming with Botham and Atherton live from the UK, combined with their digital interactive features, made it a winner for FOX Sports.

Also special mention to the excellent print and radio work by Three Drunk Monkeys for FOX Sports – the campaign dramatises the Ashes and what they mean to the Aussies:

A classic battle in every sense of the word and just as a new satellite launch promises more Australian Pay TV channel choices…

Fox Sports viewers make the call on Katich – The Ashes 2009 – Fox Sports

Fox Sports viewers make the call on Katich – The Ashes 2009 – Fox Sports

Viewers of Fox Sports 3 in Australia helped highlight one of the “trio of umpire errors” on day four at Lord’s and then got the message across to the commentators at the ground, reports the Fox Sports website (click the link above).

When Simon Katich was caught off the bowling of Andrew Flintoff, the commentators didn’t seem to notice that Freddie’s front foot was a nudge over the line – no ball.

A short while later the commentary team was informed via a flood of emails, courtesy of Fox Sports Aussie viewers using Foxtel IQ to replay the incident, that they and the umpire had missed a trick.

Interesting to see the changes to sport as technology chases the truth via IQ replays, “Hot Spot” and “Snickometer”…..but, despite the technology, the Aussies still lost at Lord’s – the first time in 75 years and according to the great cricket fan Stephen Fry via his twitter:

“Joy. Bliss. Divinity. Excellence. Radiant effulgence. Rapture. Content. Yards and yards of fine, fresh, fragrant happiness. All is good.”