You’ve just settled down to watch the latest Test match or ODI and suddenly a wicket falls. The moments that follow are usually the most exciting of the day; seeing the reaction of the players, and the crowd, as well as hearing those of the commentators, are what sport is all about.
But no, we the public are never allowed that luxury. In the shortest time known to man we’re switched from the ground to endure two or three minutes of forced ingestion of mindless adverts. Many we probably find amusing the first, second, third and even fourth time we see them but by the time we’ve been exposed to them for the umpteenth time that hour we’re probably ready to wish KFC, VB or Toyota products all to hell.
But that’s not the end of it. At the end of every over there’s an advertising break. And how many times have we been returned to the game only to find that the first ball of the following over has already been bowled.
Not content with all that ad time, the former players in the commentary box are now usually required to mouth endorsements of sponsors’ products in the midst of their comments on play. The latest development is to beam advertising onto the scoreboard and sight-screens actually between balls.
I know that most of these channels are “free-to-air” but the contempt with which they treat us the viewers raises the question as to whether we should seriously consider demanding payment from them for consenting to be their milch-cows.