MEDIA: CRICKET WORLD CUP - AN EXPERT'S VIEW

Sky Sports 3's cricket World Cup coverage is great for armchair fans, Chris White-Smith writes.

The England cricket team's highly charged "will they, won't they" prevarication before pulling out of the game in Zimbabwe brought the cricket World Cup to the attention of more people than the narrow band that follows this minority sport.

For the real die-hard armchair fans it is an embarrassment of riches, with six weeks of the tournament on Sky from breakfast to the small hours.

Sky has dedicated Sky Sports 3 exclusively to the tournament and digital viewers who like to poke the red button are treated to eight interactive channels "behind" Sky Sports 3 as well. You can pick the live game you want to watch or catch up on stats and highlights. And, if you really want to annoy your family, you can ceaselessly flick between games to make sure you don't miss a single ball (or single).

Sky's broadcasts are anchored by the reliable but anodyne Charles Colvile.

He has aged markedly since he first appeared on Sky a few years ago: probably as a result of covering too many England overseas travesties in the middle of the night.

Out in South Africa, David Gower hosts the late-night round-up. Not a natural interviewer, he has a tendency to answer his own questions and talked over a bemused Graham Thorpe in one programme.

But it is the cricket that counts and Sky notched an early victory in the first match between South Africa and the West Indies. The final-over finish helped attract a very respectable peak audience of 575,000 viewers.

This is more than double the ratings for the first night of BBC 3.

Spot advertisers on show included the usual ABC1 male suspects, such as cars, beers and toiletries. But I noticed Sky used the international platform to attract revenue from Western Union and Moneygram.

Travelex is Sky's broadcast sponsor. But I wasn't sold on the break bumpers, which feature a rather obvious cricket ball-sized version of planet Earth hitting a set of stumps. It seems Sky does not (or cannot) offer its sponsors as much added-value content as we do in the national press.

But the most visible branding on screen is not of Sky's making - this prize must go to LG and Pepsi who both have giant faux-3D logos painted on the grass at each end of the cricket grounds. Pepsi has also negotiated to have its name stamped on the stumps. Undoubtedly highly visible, but it is a close call on what this does for their brand image when the Australian paceman Brett Lee clatters the stumps out of the ground. So let's hope that when England meet the old enemy, the Pepsi brand values remain intact.

Broadcaster: Sky Sports

Frequency: Daily on Sky Sports 3

Audience: Peak of 575,000

Advertisers include: Travelex (sponsor), Western Union, Moneygram,

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