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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 April, 2005, 14:41 GMT 15:41 UK
Sussex on the ball with web TV launch
By Scott Heinrich

Sussex Cricket TV
Sussex TV launches on Wednesday

Ask county cricket fans what frustrates them about supporting their team, and chances are you will be met with moans about lack of television coverage.

The average enthusiast simply cannot get to most games, so is forced to rely on reports and scorecards - and a vivid imagination.

Such problems are about to evaporate for Sussex fans, who now need only a PC to access the action.

To coincide with their first Championship match of the season against Hampshire, the Hove club are launching Sussex Cricket TV.

An online operation, Sussex Cricket TV is a visual smorgasbord and will host highlights packages of all home and away games not televised by BSkyB.

Following in the footsteps of Surrey, who launched a similar service in 2004, Sussex Cricket TV represents another big step forward for the county game.

Sussex director of cricket Peter Moores
When I started playing, if somebody told me within hours you could access highlights on your PC, I wouldn't have believed them
Director of cricket Peter Moores

"It's an ambitious project and one that we are very excited about," Barney Douglas, the Sussex new media co-ordinator tells BBC Sport.

"We have our normal information and news website like every other county but this is going in a different direction, our media site really.

"We will put up three clips per day featuring highlights like wickets and runs.

"The site will have interviews, photo galleries, behind-the-scenes exclusives and an archive section which we will build up to include clips from this summer and as far back as 2000.

"Anything that involves visual entertainment will be there.

"It's not instant streaming just yet, but with broadband it only takes about 30 seconds to download."

Sussex coaching staff use training tool Crickstat - which films and analyses match footage - and the material gained from that will be used for the highlights packages.

The innovation has been in the pipeline for a couple of years - and would have been launched last summer were it not for technical difficulties.

The good news for fans is that there will be no subscription fee, at least not for the time being.

Sussex skipper Chris Aadms celebrates in 2003 with team-mates
Skipper Chris Adams led Sussex to Championship glory in 2003

Sussex sounded out potential business partners, but decided to go it alone with only a grant from a website development company for funding.

"We've tried to do it as cheaply as possible but as well as possible within a small budget," Douglas adds.

"The good thing about it staying in-house means it gives us complete control over content."

The site will also look to involve the fans.

"We will have a video diary room in the style of Big Brother, where on specific dates throughout the year fans can go in and say what they like for a minute," Douglas says.

"We'll pick the best ones and put them on the site. We wanted to make sure there would be a strong community element where fans can get involved."

Football clubs such as Manchester United and Chelsea have operated their own cable television stations for several years.

Douglas admits it will be some time before Sussex bridge the gap between internet and television, but the idea is still the same.

"We want to be more accessible and this is the ideal way to bring our fans closer to Sussex," he concludes.


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