Winning the Ashes in 2005 was rejoiced all over the UK. The country literally stopped. As good as the broadcasters are/were, the national team live is largely inaccessible unless you pay to view for subscription or go to the game.
Do you think this could partly be down to the sport not being free-to-air live? Appreciate the long-lasting sponsorship eras of then-everyday companies like Cornhill Insurance, B&H or Texaco, even Waitrose, seem to be in decline but what chance do the ECB have in getting a better deal with someone else, also who would that likely to be with (eg an online betting or computer software company)?
The ending of TV on 'Free to View' has done immense, quite possibly irreparable, damage to the standing of cricket as a major national sport, and its perception by the public in general. Yes salaries for players (& other staff - now far more numerous) have gone up, and many grounds have been modernised, but the cost for the future of the game as more than a 'niche' sport has been compromised.
As for sponsorship - the ending of the Investec deal early seems a direct result of a decision (or was it an error?) by the ECB. If we end up with a betting company sponsoring the game, or even our national team, then a large number of us will question our continued relationship with the game. I, for one, have no wish to even indirectly support a business I regard as morally inacceptable, and responsible for causing grave damage to society.