While the TV channel Dave is best known for showing repeats of BBC programmes and occasionally making its own output such as Taskmaster, it has been recently been moving more into sports coverage.
In the past they have covered motorsport, they have shown live boxing featuring David Haye, and this week they started broadcasting the Hero Caribbean Premier League, the West Indian Twenty20 cricket tournament. It is great to see Dave expanding, not just for covering something that isn’t a repeat of Top Gear, but also because for too long cricket has been in control of Sky.
Currently in this country, England are playing Sri Lanka, and you can only watch it live on Sky Sports 2. Outside this, your only other options in the UK are to listen to the radio coverage on either BBC Radio 4 longwave or BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, or wait until the day is over and watch edited highlights on Channel 5.
However, you can now see entire T20 matches from the Caribbean on a Freeview channel. It is great to be able to watch this sport again for free (bar your licence fee of course). There is still one problem. Most of the matches are not shown live, presumably partly due to the time zones. Out of the 33 matches they are showing, only five will be televised live, with their programme starting times at 23.30. On the plus side, one of those live matches is the grand final on 7th August. All the other matches are shown later the following day at 13.00. If you are interested in seeing any of the live matches, you are going to have to stay up for the night.
It will be great if they could show more live matches, but the big problem is breaking Sky’s grip on the cricket coverage. They already have total coverage of the English, the Australian and the South African T20 leagues, plus the biggest T20 competition around, the Indian Premier League. But anything that can allow those who choose to use just Freeview services to watch more live sport is great to see.
In term of the coverage itself it is pretty decent. The presenters and commentators Ian Bishop, H. D. Ackerman, Damien Martyn and Mark Butcher seem capable enough. The one odd thing worth mentioning is that Dave are promoting themselves at the cricket grounds, which means there are advertising stands around the ground that say “Dave” and nothing else. Now, we in the UK understand what they advertising, but if they don’t have the Dave channel in the West Indies, then the locals must be rather confused that someone called Dave has purchased some advertising in their local cricket grounds. Plus, some of the matches are being played in Florida for the benefit of ex-pats. God knows what the Americans would think of foreign teams playing a strange sport, complete with advertising devoted to some strange man known only by their first name.
Dave’s coverage of the Hero Caribbean Premier League continues until 7th August.