Here’s one for all you cricket fans – British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) has just announced a bunch of new features to coincide with its coverage of the Ashes tournament which begins this week, offering a wealth of new stats and coverage options to play with than have previously been accessible.
The new “Ashes Event Centre” is the most comprehensive take on a ‘second-screen cricket experience’ seen so far, allowing viewers to watch all of the action, ball-by-ball, from a mobile device or their desktop computers. The app can be downloaded now, and will be used for the first time at the Investec Ashes 2013.
Besides showing non-stop footage of each of the five-day tests in the series, the biggest bonus is the wealth of statistics that the Ashes Event Centre offers, which Sky claims is exactly the same set of stats as the commentators themselves have access to. Other features include the so-called timeline, which allows you to go ‘back in time’ if you missed any of the action, and review key moments at your leisure.
David Gibbs, Director of Sky Sports Digital Media, said that the Ashes Event Centre would give cricket fans the “ultimate experience”.
“This is the first time our cricket coverage has come with a dedicated second-screen experience, and it’s yet more proof that Sky is determined to give its customers the best possible experience whilst watching events live,” he added.
One of the standout features has to be the “Hawk Eye” function, which allows viewers to review each and every ball using exactly the same tools enjoyed by the presenters in the studio.
Sky says that the app can be downloaded for free by its existing customers. Non-subscribers can also enjoy the app, though they’ll have to pay a £4.99 fee for the privilege. We should note however that it’s only available on the iPad – yep, once again Android users have been screwed over, however the digital satellite television broadcaster does at least provide subscribers with the opportunity to enjoy most of its features via the Sky website. For non-subscribing, non-iPad owning cricket fans though, it looks like you’ll be out of luck.
The Ashes second-screen experience is all part of BSkyB’s relentless drive to boost its sports coverage, something that’s likely motivated by BT’s efforts to entice viewers to its own BT Vision platform with the promise of free Premier League footy and other events. Unable to match that offer, Sky has been forced to innovate with companion apps like its F1 Race Control app and its Premier League Match Centre to provide a better overall experience.