Home > Cricket Development, USA > Investing in USA Junior Cricket

Investing in USA Junior Cricket

Lets say that all the public middle and high schools in the following SF Bay Area cities were to be given a cricket atheletics program costing $50K per year each: Palo Alto, Santa Clara, Mountain View, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Saratoga, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Campbell, Milpitas, Cupertino and Sunnyvale. That would be 24 middle schools, and 18 High Schools. The total cost for this program would be around $2.1 million per year. The net population of these cities is about 540K. Net GDP of these cities is about $21 Billion (around that of Uganda, Nepal and PNG) 
Thats a whopping investment cost.  
At a given time, around 1000-1400 kids would be playing cricket, properly coached, games properly scheduled, high school leagues properly run. Standard would be high, the net result would be a fair US cricket team in about 5-6 years at both the U15 and U19 level. This kind of system would be sending ‘out’ about 150 kids year into the real world, so in 10 years, about 1500 kids would have ‘graduated’ from this system.  
Hopefully hopefully hopefully, the other kids in the school would be following their cricket team matches, and would start developing some interest in terms of viewship in the sport.  
Here are some issues:  
1) The initial investment is just too high. I mean, $2.1 million per year for a schools program in a small area of California is a lot of money considering that the ICC gave only $500K total to the 6 countries that got ODI status for 2006 onwards. 
2) The bay area has a total of 7 million people. This affected population is not even 10% of the bay area. It is unlikely to get much exposure even in the bay area, let alone the whole of CA, and let alone the US. So we will end up being the same situation as we are in today; hoping that a good performance would magicically get a huge percentage of america hooked on to the game that the they dont understand.  
3) The main reason why one would expect the ICC to bend over backwards to fund such a programme in the US is because it is stated that the US is a great ‘investment’. A cricket crazy US can take ICC’s revenue past the billions of dollars, so the ICC should make this investment here. The problem with this logic is that a) it takes the potential of the whole of the US into account whereas even this huge 2.1 million investment is affecting only 0.18% of the people in the US and b) there are other countries in the world that are also rich, can also take the ICC revenue as high as 20% of the US, and they will not require all this massive investment. Countries like Denamrk, Holland, Italy, Japan and Argentina are good examples, and so is Canada to some extent. These countries (barring Canada) have already mainstreamed their sport, already have schools cricket. Why should the ICC not invest in those countries instead esp. Holland?. This kind of money can create an extremely strong foothold for cricket in the “whole” of Holland and Denmark (not 0.18%), perhaps even Japan. So I think the ICC would not fly with this ‘huge dollar potential’ argument. They were unrealistically expectant about 3 years back (Project USA and God knows what). But the events in the last 2 years at least have shown the ICC to look elsewhere for potential investments, and that is what they have been doing and will be doing for the forseable future.  
4) This kind of a program however, would not be a bad move if the ICC were to have extremely long term goals; something like 30 years. I mean, eventually, you would think that the game would grow with this system, albeit slowly. The kids getting out of this programme would eventually get into positions of money or power and would make an attempt to springboard the development with further investment. But then again, the question remains the same. Why would the ICC have such a long term goal when it can make similar money from the other countries in the shorter period of time with lesser investment.  

Categories: Cricket Development, USA
  1. January 4, 2006 at 7:56 am

    Great Blog! I hope you will continue.

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