Surrey County Cricket Club (CCC) has partnered with Facebook to broadcast its games from the Kia Oval this season with the Watch streaming platform.
The games will be broadcast live for fans to watch for free as the county side compete in the Bob Willis Trophy, a competition created solely for the purpose of the shortened season, as well as the NatWest T20 Blast. The games will be available via the Surrey CCC Facebook page.
The London Cup, which is taking place on July 22, will be the first game broadcasted on the new streaming platform for Surrey Cricket. The cup sees Surrey Women and Middlesex Women competing in a Twenty20 format. It will also be the first domestic cricket match seen in the UK since March due to the lockdown caused by the Covid-19 crisis.
This will be shortly followed by the Surrey Men’s pre-season friendlies set to take place on July 26 and 27. The Bob Willis Trophy will begin on August 1 with further fixture details currently unknown but set to be announced by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on July 24.
The games will be broadcast in a multi-camera format, a first for English cricket. There will be a manned camera to follow the action and a high-quality production setup.
At this stage, it remains to be seen whether fans will be allowed to attend games at the Kia Oval despite optimism from Surrey and the UK government who have identified the pre-season friendly, together with Glorious Goodwood and the World Snooker Championship, as pilot events for allowing fans back into venues.
Jon Surtees, the Head of Communications at Surrey CCC, believes this is the next best opportunity for fans to be able to engage with the matches without physically being able to attend.
“County cricket has always had a large and dedicated online following and we’re excited to be taking this to the next level.
“We have a highly engaged community of fans on Facebook, and although we’re only able to welcome a small amount of them back to the Kia Oval for now, hopefully this coverage will be the next best thing – allowing fans from to follow Surrey’s pursuit of the Bob Willis Trophy and NatWest T20 Blast, and engage with other fans from around the world.”
Richard Gould, chief executive of Surrey CCC, added: “Throughout our 175-year history, Surrey have frequently enjoyed a forward-thinking reputation. This partnership exemplifies that and will allow us to bring quality coverage of world-class cricket, featuring some of the biggest names in the game, to our fans around the world.”
The deal signifies another important move for the social media giant whose aspirations are to be able to broadcast more sports onto its channel. The International Cricket Council (ICC) agreed a deal with Facebook to become the exclusive digital content rights partner for ICC events in the Indian sub-continent until 2023.
Author: Jake Wilkin