Are you ready for The Ashes?
The biggest cricketing rivalry of them all is back and it’s on BT Sport. Here’s the lowdown on what’s coming your way this winter.
England arrive in Australia after a shaky pre-Ashes build-up. The furore around Ben Stokes has been well-documented and, on the playing side, there are still question marks over the batting line-up.
Can England sort things out to retain The Ashes and gain some revenge for the whitewash they experienced on the last tour Down Under?
Lots of questions need to be answered. We can’t predict what will unfold on the field of play, but we can give you a little direction as to how you can make the most of what will undoubtedly be a thrilling series.
When does it start?
The first ball (hopefully not a massive wide a la Harmison in 2006) will be bowled as November 22 turns into November 23. Midnight here, 10am in Brisbane. Admittedly that’s not the most convenient of timings for many pubs but it could help you extend trading hours or open a little earlier to snaffle some of the evening action from Australia in the morning.
Pub planners beware, not every test starts at the same time. Adelaide will see the first ever day/night Ashes Test and a chance for pubs to draw a crowd from breakfast to lunch. Take a look below at the full dates and start times.
1st Test: Brisbane, November 23-27, Midnight
2nd Test: Adelaide, December 2-6, 3.30am
3rd Test: Perth, December 14-18 2.30am,
4th Test: Melbourne, December 26-30, 11.30pm
5th Test: Sydney, January 4-8, 11.30pm
For some pubs, showing the action live, no matter what time it starts is too good an opportunity to miss.
Shane O’Hara (below, with a very thin cricket bat), general manager at Allstars Sports Bar in Bristol, says: “We put loads of emphasis on showing these events live. It’s great in theory to show ‘as live’ several hours later but it’s never the same and people always let the result cat out of the bag to spoil it!”
BT Sport will show every minute of the test series live, so you can show as much cricket as you want. There will also be a daily 90-minutes highlights programme, which provides another way of giving your customers their cricket fix.
Like a captain carefully weighing up how a match is developing, Dan Cramp is going to take his time before committing to new opening hours. He co-owns the Three Crowns in Wymeswold, Leicestershire, with cricketers Harry Gurney and Stuart Broad, who might be a little busy Down Under to be pulling pints this winter.
Dan says: “Obviously I’ll be watching the cricket and I’ll probably be at the bar with Harry. We are a village local, so we will have to see how much interest there is in opening for the first test. We’ll do a few things throughout the series and will probably try breakfast for the day/night test.”
Ah, that growing but tricky breakfast market. The Ashes does give you a chance to test if you can pull punters in for a coffee and a bacon sarnie. Recent research by potato brand Lamb Weston shows that the number of people who eat out for breakfast or brunch has doubled since the 1970s. Every month 2.6m people opt for an early out-of-home meal, but only 12 per cent do so in the pub. Perhaps the cricket is your chance to work on those averages.
This is not such a tangent as it may at first appear. The last big sporting event played on the other side of the world was the Lions against New Zealand. The major difference was that series presented three big trading days starting at around 8.30am, whereas the cricket has a lot more action stretched over a longer period. However, the Lions does prove that people will get up and of home for big sporting events. On the day of the final test, sports pubs saw a 58 per cent uplift in sales compared to the previous weekend, according to beer flow monitors Vianet.
BT Sport’s coverage will see some of the biggest names in cricket analysing the action. 2005 Ashes winning skipper Michael Vaughan will be joined by his Australian counterpart Ricky Ponting and a line-up that also includes Geoffrey Boycott, Graeme Swann, Adam Gilchrist, Damien Fleming and broadcasters Alison Mitchell and Matt Smith. They will ensure you get the best possible coverage back at the bar.
No need to wait
If you need a cricket fix now, switch on the Women’s Ashes to see if England can get back in the series. BT Sport will also be bringing you the five match ODI series between England and Australia, the T20 Trans-Tasman series and the T20 Big Bash and Women’s Big Bash. It’s a big winter of cricket coming your way, here’s to a successful time for your business and for England.