Cricket Paddle?It seems that Forbes, American journalists need to do some background checking before diving in to the world of cricket. Their ignorance speaks volumes of the chance of selling cricket to the Yanks. Not much hope I would say, despite the enthusiasm of Allen Stanford a billionaire developer trying to sell cricket to Americans.
Twenty years ago Stanford, 58, who grew up in Fort Worth, Tex., couldn't tell a cricket paddle from a baseball bat.I'll bet he still doesn't. Unfortunately, yes it looks like a paddle, but it is a bat.
This speaks volumes of the cultural divide. Nobody in America has ever heard of cricket. When I lived there in the 1980s and 90s, it was one gigantic cricket free zone. It was like it didn't exist. The Twilight Zone of Cricket. Fair enough there were plenty of American sports and football (soccer) was barely on the radar screen. Both football and rugby have done a much better job of promoting themselves and are now quite established. Cricket on the other hand seems to be taking a whiz bang approach with big ticket events, rather like the original Major League Soccer with big stars and no real grass roots support.
Whether cricket will take in the U.S. remains to be seen. In February Stanford dispatched a marketing group, armed with instruction manuals and broadcasts of the Stanford 20/20 tournament, to Fort Collins, Colo., with orders to turn the town, picked for its lack of exposure to the sport, "cricket crazy." The $3.5 million mission was a qualified success: After five weeks of being bombarded with ads and promotions, 6% of those surveyed said they would be willing to order cricket on pay-per-view. Fort Collins has a population of 125,700, implying that Stanford spent around $464 on each convert.Based on this calculation it would take about a billion dollars to make a small inroad into the saturated US sports watching market. Why would you bother?
Cricket is a very small sport outside enthusiastic support in a small number of countries. Even here in Australia, only test matches and other international matches are well supported. Who has the time to sit and watch cricket. All the national matches are staged for pay tv with about a hundred people in to watch.
So cricket and your stuffy administrators in Dubai, get out your bats and get paddling if you want to make some inroads into some other markets. I think that the American one is a bit too hard.