Can you imagine the FA Cup final, World Cup, Wimbledon, Open golf, Olympics or Six Nations being taken off terrestrial television?
While the magical summer of 2005 will live long in the memory, the England Ashes victory against Australia has been the preserve of Sky Sports subscribers and pub owners across the country.
Now, given the fact that cricket matches can last five days and therefore inevitably cross over to the working week, I’m not suggesting for one minute that when such events occur, we should all take days off to watch them.
But it would be nice to have the choice.
In these dark days of recession, spending £40+ to subscribe to Sky Sports is beyond a lot of people and as one of the ‘Crown Jewels’ of our sporting calendar, it should be on terrestrial television.
Surely, especially given the jubilation a cricket series win provokes in sports fans and the general public, not to mention one against Australia, removing it from the public consumption is, well, just not cricket.
The fact remains that Sky’s coverage is impressive – former captains such as Ian Botham, Mike Atherton and Nasser Hussain plus Ashes legends such as Bob Willis and Shane Warne provide a range of opinions and analysis which are unrivalled, as is their High Definition camerawork.
And there’s no doubt that the money Sky provides has a positive impact on all sports – and cricket needs it at elite level as much as anything else.
But while they continue to offer such as high standard of production, sharing the live coverage with a terrestrial channel, as they do for the FA Cup final, is not such a crazy idea.
Of course, those of us without Sky have now been able to savour the delights of Test Match Special which, although not quite as good as having images, it so quintessentially English and irreverent that it never fails to entertain.
But with sport in the UK continuing to falter as sports grounds are closed and investment fails to materialise, how are the next generations going to be inspired if they cannot see the moments that make sport such great unscripted theatre?