For Immediate release July 14th 2009
New Report Shows Test Cricket Threatened
A new report has highlighted the threats to the future of test cricket and suggests that unless swift action is taken to protect the format, it is in danger of dying out.
Twenty20 Vision, The Commercial Future of Cricket, published by International Marketing Reports, analyses the growth of Twenty20 and shows that the consequent commercial pressures now threaten all other cricket formats.
Cricket and business writer, David Smith, author of the report, says that to understand the way the game will develop, it is important to look at the revenue streams.
“There is no doubt that Twenty20 is having a massive impact on the sport. The biggest television rights deals, worth more than $1 billion each, are now for Twenty20 series formats such as the Indian Premier League (IPL), the Champions League Tournament and the International Cricket Council events, which includes the ICC World Twenty20. On the face of it, the income is good news for cricket, but there is a major downside. The fixture list is becoming ever more crowded and top players are putting the lucrative Twenty20 matches first.
“In India and the West Indies, interest in test cricket is falling dramatically among both fans and players. If two of the big five test nations no longer take the format seriously, and the best Australian, English and South African players consider the IPL a priority, it suggests that test cricket is in real danger of being marginalised.”
The report, which analyses commercial strategies, TV revenues, sponsorship income and attendance from cricket around the world, shows that after a period of decline, attendance at English and Australian cricket overall has stabilised, but that is mainly down to the impact of Twenty20.
It also demonstrates that the balance of power in cricket has shifted firmly towards India.
“Lalit Modi, chairman of the IPL, has recently stated that the IPL’s success could lead to a second series each, one that might travel the globe”, says Smith.
“If this happens it will put more pressure on schedules in other countries. Already the ECB has cut the domestic calendar to accommodate its two Twenty20 competitions.
But it was noticeable that this year’s test series against between England and the West Indies was compromised by the fact that key players had only just returned from their IPL commitments and this definitely had an effect.”
The report also analyses the commercial strategies of clubs and sponsors and shows that clubs in particular need to do more to attract fans. It cites the example of Yorkshire CCC, which has developed a major community programme that sees almost 100,000 people per year engage with the club.
“Clubs cannot simply rely on Twenty20 to magically deliver new revenues,” says Smith.
“They need to be much more proactive in their commercial operations. The world has changed dramatically and cricket is just one of many leisure options. The sport, therefore, has to market itself much better. Twenty20 has successfully attracted new interest, but there is a lot more that can be done. The Yorkshire case study featured demonstrates the potential to reach out to all sections of the community and get people interested in both playing and watching cricket.”
The report discusses the strategies of all interested parties including clubs, governing bodies, TV companies and sponsors. It shows how they can maximise their investments and recommends options to secure the future of the sport.
It floats the idea of a quadrennial Test cricket World Cup as a way of reviving global interest in the format.
For more information and to arrange an interview with the author contact:
International Marketing Reports Ltd
+44 (0) 1227 731099
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