The greatest sporting rivals of them all face off again this winter. Let's be honest, the timings aren't ideal for pubs but there are still ways of making The Ashes work for you. Here are a few things to bear in mind.

 

It's the bloody Ashes

If there is a sporting fixture between two nations with as much history and spice as this one, then we don't know about it. It's been going since 1882, for goodness' sake, and the biennial test series between England and Australia still captures the imagination like no other event in cricket or beyond.
Even if you don't have a huge cricket following in your pub, most casual sports fans will have an interest in what's happening Down Under this winter, so if you can have it on, even in the background, it's worth it. If you don't have it on the telly, some breakfasters might be happy to listen to the comforting commentary from the Test Match Special team.

 

It's on BT Sport

 

 

Over the last few years the big battles between the two broadcasting giants have generally been over Champions League and Premier League rights, so the fact BT Sport has picked up the rights to this series could have passed some by.
Last year the broadcaster signed a five-year deal with Cricket Australia to show domestic cricket including The Ashes, Big Bash, Women's Ashes (now underway) and a load more international cricket.
The next Ashes series in this country (2019) will be on Sky, as will that summer's World Cup.

 

It should be closer than last time...

 

 

Well, it would be hard for it to be any more one-sided than the last time they met in Australia. England were in disarray and were whitewashed 5-0 — only the third time such a score has been recorded in Ashes history. Pantomime villain Mitchell Johnson stole the show with 37 wickets.
It spelled the end of the road (or the beginning of the end) for several England stars as reputations were left in ruins. England won The Ashes back on home soil a couple of years later but those still around who were on that previous tour — such as Joe Root, Alastair Cook, Jimmy Anderson and part-time publican Stuart Broad — will be looking for revenge.

 

It's a chance to boost those breakfast sales

 

 

The obvious problem with this series is that the timings are not as ideal as a Test at home that starts in time for brunch and ends just as people are coming in from work.

To show these matches you need to be open very late, very early or trade through the night. A midnight fixture in November might get people to stay a little longer. Alternatively, the second and third Tests could help you grow breakfast trade among those who want to catch play towards the end of the day in Australia.

People will need to know who is showing the action, so be sure to broadcast it far and wide in the pub and to your social media followers.

 

It has a day/night Test

England played their first day-nighter this summer, overcoming the West Indies at Edgbaston. The first pink ball Ashes test is likely to be a big event at the start of December. Now, while opening at 4am might not be your idea of a brilliant business strategy, you should be able to capitalise mid-morning onwards, when the light fades in Australia and the atmosphere in Adelaide cranks up.

 

ASHES FIXTURES

23–27 NOVEMBER 2017
1st Test, Brisbane Midnight

2–6 DECEMBER 2017
2nd Test, Adelaide (day/night) 4am

14–18 DECEMBER 2017

 

3rd Test, Perth 2.30am

26–30 DECEMBER 2017
4th Test, Melbourne 11.30pm

4–8 JANUARY 2018
5th Test, Sydney 11.30pm

 

MORE 'ASHES' ACTION

 

 

It's not just cricket keeping sports fans of clashes between these nations happy this year.

Rugby League

Women's World Cup, Australia
16 November– 2 December

Rugby Union

England v Australia, Twickenham
18 November

 

* Main pic by AirwolfHound