Club cricket’s streaming revolution: FrogBox takes UK by storm

The 2023 cricket season is fast approaching, and the sport’s landscape is changing vastly.

At the grassroots level, the face of the game is evolving at some pace, and the revolution will be televised.

There has been a noticeable growth in the online presence of cricket clubs across the United Kingdom, aided in large part by the rise of FrogBox – a streaming product that aims to make broadcasting live cricket accessible.

Chris Watling, FrogBox’s sales manager, said: “The success in the UK has been phenomenal.

“We’ve just finished our second full season here, and we have 280 active clubs using the FrogBox kit and system.”

FrogBox is quickly becoming a household (or, more aptly, clubhouse) name among local cricketers and it’s no surprise.

The premise behind FrogBox is a simple one – low-cost, high-quality cricket broadcasting for clubs and schools – via a one-time purchase of a streaming kit containing camera and mast, along with a yearly streaming pass.

Australian cricketers react to club clips captured via the FrogBox kit

From there, clubs are free to use the footage captured for their social media platforms, unsurprisingly birthing some viral cricketing moments.

Crucially, FrogBox is the only streaming solution that integrates with the Play-Cricket scoring app in the UK, to display scorecards and statistics with ease.

The FrogBox kit in action – it can be set up and unmanned for the duration of a club cricket game. Credit: FrogBox

For Old Hamptonians CC, a rapidly-growing club in south west London, there were reversations around the initial FrogBox purchase at the start of the 2022 season, largely due to its cost.

Club secretary Matthew Bendelow said: “The more we looked into Frogbox and how seamlessly it integrated with digital scoring, which is now something we do almost exclusively at our club, it felt as though the cost and the admin were bridges capable of being crossed.

“By the back end of the season, the entire system could be set up in ten minutes.

“The scoring is all done through the club’s iPad, meaning the scorer’s experience is exactly the same.”

The benefits of FrogBox being employed at a club like Old Hamptonians extend much further than that though.

Bendelow highlights how the primary aim of the purchase was to boost the experience of the club’s members.

“It has become an extra catalyst for conversation in the WhatsApp group; an extra opportunity for people to see what’s happening in teams they don’t normally play in; an opportunity to celebrate things that go well; as well as, of course, the odd occasion where there’s something to chuckle at.”

The feedback FrogBox has received paints a picture of a resurgent club cricket landscape.

Watling said: “A lot of clubs have found it a really useful way to attract sponsorship and to commercialise their club that way.

“Getting sponsors on board has been a way clubs have funded the FrogBox kit, which in turn they can display on the stream.

“Some clubs have even attracted players through the use of the kit, which can act as a shop window for the club.”

FrogBox’s growing prominence in broadcasting club cricket, however, builds on pre-existing terrain.

Although not live streaming their matches, Sanderstead Cricket Club arguably ‘pioneered’ the filming of club cricket since Dan Allen started uploading highlights clips to YouTube in 2016, garnering nearly eight million views on their channel and a cult worldwide following.

Allen, who is entering his 38th year at the Croydon club, said: “What I’ve deliberately set out to do is a homage to village cricket that I’ve played and been involved in all my life.”

Sanderstead’s content is powered by a more DIY, candid approach to celebrate Sanderstead’s personalities; involving Allen’s slow boundary walk, a variety of different camera angles, and a bit of tongue-in-cheek commentary to go with it.

Sanderstead CC have long been at the forefront of club cricket content, and don’t rely on the FrogBox kit. Credit: FrogBox

“It’s not mass-produced entertainment: it’s low-rent stuff, one man and his dog, village cricket.

“Every half hour film is a story, and I think that’s why people watch it.

“And that’s why people come back – they come for the cricket and stay for the characters.”

Allen films every ball and deletes footage as he goes, before sitting down with a pint of Pilgrim (one of the club’s sponsors) to edit the video in the clubhouse.

He even created an online course, with the aid of his wife, in coaching other clubs in how to create and manage a YouTube channel – with the benefits felt as far as clubs in the Netherlands, Canada and even Japan.

Evidently, the concept of live streaming games is not a novel one, but FrogBox has entered the club game’s orbit and taken it by storm.

FrogBox equipment. Credit: FrogBox

And regardless of whether clubs want to use FrogBox’s integrated scoring/streaming system, or a more homespun approach to better celebrate the individual stories, the benefits are marked.

Watling attributes the success of FrogBox to its accessibility, both in terms of pricing, ease of use and how simply it intertwines with the scoring app.

“Our mission statement is ultimately to get as many clubs live streaming as possible, enabling as many clubs as possible to broadcast their games professionally.

“It has made scoring a lot more engaging and given fans and followers a lot easier access to data and footage.”

An ECB Spokesperson said: “We welcome the growth of livestreaming in recreational cricket.

“Grassroots clubs using the latest technology is a great example of making their cricket more accessible and bringing the game to wider audiences.”

It seems that, in a time where the professional cricketing climate is so volatile, the recreational game is in very safe hands.

Featured image credit: Frogbox

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