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Cricket Peru attends World Cricket Business Forum

  Posted on: November 21st, 2011

P1070063 (smaller)Cricket Peru was excited to be part of the recent inaugural World Cricket Business Forum, held at the Royal Garden Hotel, London on Sept 13th and 14th. The event brought together more than 150 ‘cricket business professionals’ … and just one unpaid volunteer, Miles Buesst, the Secretary of Cricket Peru!

It was extremely interesting to hear from some of the heaviest hitters in the world game, as speakers and panellists, such as Hashim Amla, the well-respected South African batsman; the CEOs of Cricket Australia, New Zealand Cricket, the England & Wales Cricket Board and Durham CCC; ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat; and TV commentators and journalists.

P1070064 (smaller)Of particular relevance, in the light of the recent convictions of Pakistan players for corruption within the game, was an excellent talk by Sir Ronnie Flanagan, an ex-policeman who is the Chairman of the ICC’s Anti-Corruption & Security Unit, entitled Maintaining the Integrity and Spirit of Cricket.

For a comparative look at the ‘commercial landscape’ around sport, there was input from professionals from outside the game – such as executives from Twitter, ESPN Star and the NBA – discussing such issues as branding, broadcasting rights and exploiting social media, in the light of cricket coming to terms with being part of the entertainment industry. The impact and implications of the Indian Premier League on the world of cricket were a constant reference point, not surprisingly. And much discussion focussed on the whys and wherefores of maintaining the three separate formats of the game.

The session entitled What Strategies Can Be Utilised for Growth in Non-Traditional Markets? was of real interest to a development nation such as Cricket Peru. It was certainly interesting to hear expressed the view from the top about grass-roots cricket development, but frustrating to hear assumptions made about beginners and facilities, and exposure to cricket, that had no basis in the reality of non-cricket nations – for example, 11-year-old kids will be playing ball sports (cricket, squash and tennis were the sports mentioned) naturally.

Also, it was taken as read that T20 cricket was highly innovative and the ‘development’ form of cricket. Cricket Peru’s experience has been that this is not necessarily the case, and pointed out that cricket administrators should be looking at other forms of the game (such as Peru’s much-loved 8-a-side format, or tapeball, or cage cricket) if they really want to get players hooked.

So, while this Forum represented an attempt to see cricket from another perspective, be it the fan, the sponsor or the player, it was not looking at cricket from the perspective of a lowly ICC Affiliate nation! Nonetheless, it was a real pleasure to be able to bang the drum for both Cricket Peru and Cricket South America in such august company, and to be received so warmly.