USA news May 3, 2009

ICC keen to install IPL model in USA

26

Is this a viable proposition? Have your say

The ICC has advised cricket officials in America to install an IPL model to capitalise on the Twenty20 boom and generate funds for the game's grassroot development in the USA, IS Bindra, the ICC's principal advisor, said. The ICC told United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) to set up such a league "as fast as they can" during a meeting in January that was attended by Bindra and Haroon Lorgat, the ICC chief executive.

"We suggested during that meeting that they organise a Twenty20 league based on the successful IPL model," Bindra told Cricinfo. "Like IPL, they should look at private ownership for teams, each of which can have a mix of foreign and local players. Initially, to get the league going, they can have more foreign players in a playing XI, more than the four allowed in an IPL team. Then, as the league picks up interest, they can look at increasing the local element."

Bindra, who has been specifically tasked by the ICC to develop cricket in the US, said he would pursue the idea with USACA officials during a meeting in Dubai on May 17 and 18. "What we are looking at is a top class event that will be fully backed by the ICC and will have some top international players," he said. "As we see it, many international players, except those from England, are usually free from May to September. This space could be utilised."

When asked about the American Premier League (APL), an unofficial private venture which unveiled its plans in March, Bindra said a successful official model was always the best response. "I feel that regulation is not the only way to curb unapproved ventures. You need to have a successful alternative, too, like how the BCCI developed its Premier League as a viable model (to the ICL)." The APL is being organised by Jay Mir, a businessman who signed up Sir Richard Hadlee as consultant and former players like Inzamam-ul-Haq and Graeme Hick for a six-team league to be staged in October in New York City.

Bindra said that a "large market" for cricket exists in the US - with its immigrant Indian, Pakistani and West Indian population - that has not been fully utilised. "There have been some ad-hoc attempts to organise some leagues and events in the US, but none of them happened on an official platform and were poorly planned efforts," he said. "Now, we have a Twenty20 boom worldwide and we need to capitalise on that. Twenty20 is the nearest cricket can come to baseball in terms of time, excitement and even glamour. It's the closest cricket can come to having an American flavour and we have to move in now."

Official cricket in the US has largely been a stop-start affair with the local governing body rendered ineffective since the early 1990s due to large-scale infighting. The USACA was twice suspended by the ICC for its dysfunctional administration and readmitted into the official fold only last year after elections were held.

Bindra said that the USACA, which is headed by Gladstone Dainty, a businessman, is now on the track to stability, especially with the recent appointment of Don Lockerbie, COO and venue development director of the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies, as its chief executive. "The time is right now to plan the big step forward," Bindra said.

Ajay Shankar is deputy editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • GibbonsCricket on May 10, 2009, 14:23 GMT

    As Director of the only American High School Cricket program outside of New York City, I can tell you that cricket has great potential in the U.S. This team was created by students who, before last year, had never seen cricket played. A few students had the chance to play cricket once, and the sport went viral from there. Now we teach it as part of our P.E. classes, and our team is about to begin its first season in a new youth league in the Baltimore/Washington area. This is the key: we must have the patience to develop cricket at the youth level first. The idea of going forward now with a manufactured professional league stocked by players unknown to Americans is silly. The market for such a product is incredibly thin and scattered, making support for regional franchises highly unlikely and sponsorship prospects weak. The end will be predictable: the poorly supported franchises will fold and then "cricket experts" will declare this to be proof that America will not support cricket.

  • Ganesh on May 9, 2009, 22:06 GMT

    Cricket never will be a success in USA. Imagine a global sport like football is less successful, this after USA hosting a World cup and the USA team is among the top twenty teams of the World. The sports market is run by TV channels in the US and no network would be willing to give up their prime time baseball/football/basketball for a game that is a relative unknown.

    Most americans cannot think cricket beyond" it's like baseball except that they use a flat bat and the ball pitches before it reaches the batter". ICC can instead pump in the dollars to improve cricket in countries like West Indies, New Zealand etc. where the game is losing it's popularity and can help revive the fortunes of those teams. We dont want China and America to help us with cricket.

  • accricketer94 on May 7, 2009, 11:12 GMT

    I wish a try-out based system would be accepted as local talent could be obtained as well as international stars. In my town, Edison, all I have to do is go to the park to play cricket with my friends and others that I do have never met before. If cricket comes to New York, I would want to try out for a team

  • Muqs on May 5, 2009, 10:59 GMT

    Ya it will great to see an IPL type T20 league being installed by USACA, like IPL they should try to bring in one or two celebrity figure who can promote the league and the game to the masses. The possible hollywood celebrity who must be approached to buy a franchise is Russel Crowe, since he has some connection with the game and he is quite a famous hollywood star so it will good. Other person to whom one franchise can be sold is Vince Mcmahon of wwe.Perhaps Donald Trump owning a franchise will be great for the league as well. So selling the franchises to popular and glamorous personalities will be ensure great success. And creating some american and canadian stars will be much better than playing 8 or 9 internationally famed players.

  • Ozcricketwriter on May 4, 2009, 9:35 GMT

    Without question, Americans would prefer Twenty/20 to 50 over or test cricket. This is because most American sports are really short. Basketball, American football and even baseball are really short games. Indeed, many Americans complain that baseball lasts for too long - sometimes over 2 hours! Shock! Horror! As such, even Twenty/20 cricket, which can last for 2 1/2 hours, might be too long. Furthermore, wasn't there a report recently saying that there probably wasn't enough room for too many IPL-style competitions around the world? I mean, if we had them, then we wouldn't have much international cricket. Or is that the point? In soccer, the focus is more on domestic than international, and perhaps that is the future of cricket too. It sure is a tough one, but it might be worth a gamble. A big gamble though. Maybe better to start off small and see how it goes.

  • SaudAlvi on May 4, 2009, 4:31 GMT

    I think APL would be great, isn't the idea now that TV makes most money and not the ground ticket sales? we have enough people here to fill up stadiums, in NJ I play a soft ball leauge with 53 teams (only in this leauge and there are other leauges) and cricket ball leage in NY ... so we have cricket lovers .. south asians , westindians , british , australians .. oh comeon .. we have everyone from every cricket playing nation. Just put he match on un-paid tv and APL will rock !

  • Zaheerahmed on May 4, 2009, 3:51 GMT

    It would be a tremendous boost to cricket if the game gains popularity in the land of dreams. But Mr. Bindra should ensure that they should not foget to have the services of ICC Anti Corruption Unit as Lalit Modi conveniently did in IPL. I dont think cricket is still devoid of match fixing or black money (in case of IPL).

  • TwitterJitter on May 4, 2009, 3:10 GMT

    I cannot answer if it is a value proposition because we have not seen the plan. At this point it is just an idea. The questions are 1. What are the sources of revenue and how much? 2. What are the costs involved in conducting such a tournament (stadium lease, player contracts, team travel and stay, other overhead)? 3. Who is going to cover the gap between revenues and costs (costs will exceed revenue significantly unless they plan on televising and selling it to Indian market again as usual)? 4. How much investment are they planning on making and over what period? How are they planning on appealing to non-immigrant Americans if at all they are trying? I am pessimistic of their appeal beyond the South Asian and West Indian community. It could end up being a low-budget venture designed to saturate this target market so that non-official ventures can be nipped in the bud. It needs a huge (100+ million) investment each year for at least a decade for cricket to break into US market

  • cbesud2009 on May 4, 2009, 2:58 GMT

    If the ICC keeps on promoting 20/20 leagues , then cricket will become like football. In football, the league based professional club football is what the players are involved in the majority of the time. They play International football for their countries occassionally and when the WORLD CUP comes along. Even with the IPL , there are conflicts with players IPL commitments and their commitments to their country. If they keep promoting these lucrative 20/20 leagues, country based test and ODI cricket will eventually be killed

  • ColdRain on May 4, 2009, 2:27 GMT

    one word! ESPN

    get them involved and it'll quick start the cricket in usa. most of the people think it'll fail, i really doubt at least for initial years. Americans do love novelty but whether if thats a same case with sports im not quite sure. BTW Americans have a fantasy league for curling in olympics. Figure that.

  • GibbonsCricket on May 10, 2009, 14:23 GMT

    As Director of the only American High School Cricket program outside of New York City, I can tell you that cricket has great potential in the U.S. This team was created by students who, before last year, had never seen cricket played. A few students had the chance to play cricket once, and the sport went viral from there. Now we teach it as part of our P.E. classes, and our team is about to begin its first season in a new youth league in the Baltimore/Washington area. This is the key: we must have the patience to develop cricket at the youth level first. The idea of going forward now with a manufactured professional league stocked by players unknown to Americans is silly. The market for such a product is incredibly thin and scattered, making support for regional franchises highly unlikely and sponsorship prospects weak. The end will be predictable: the poorly supported franchises will fold and then "cricket experts" will declare this to be proof that America will not support cricket.

  • Ganesh on May 9, 2009, 22:06 GMT

    Cricket never will be a success in USA. Imagine a global sport like football is less successful, this after USA hosting a World cup and the USA team is among the top twenty teams of the World. The sports market is run by TV channels in the US and no network would be willing to give up their prime time baseball/football/basketball for a game that is a relative unknown.

    Most americans cannot think cricket beyond" it's like baseball except that they use a flat bat and the ball pitches before it reaches the batter". ICC can instead pump in the dollars to improve cricket in countries like West Indies, New Zealand etc. where the game is losing it's popularity and can help revive the fortunes of those teams. We dont want China and America to help us with cricket.

  • accricketer94 on May 7, 2009, 11:12 GMT

    I wish a try-out based system would be accepted as local talent could be obtained as well as international stars. In my town, Edison, all I have to do is go to the park to play cricket with my friends and others that I do have never met before. If cricket comes to New York, I would want to try out for a team

  • Muqs on May 5, 2009, 10:59 GMT

    Ya it will great to see an IPL type T20 league being installed by USACA, like IPL they should try to bring in one or two celebrity figure who can promote the league and the game to the masses. The possible hollywood celebrity who must be approached to buy a franchise is Russel Crowe, since he has some connection with the game and he is quite a famous hollywood star so it will good. Other person to whom one franchise can be sold is Vince Mcmahon of wwe.Perhaps Donald Trump owning a franchise will be great for the league as well. So selling the franchises to popular and glamorous personalities will be ensure great success. And creating some american and canadian stars will be much better than playing 8 or 9 internationally famed players.

  • Ozcricketwriter on May 4, 2009, 9:35 GMT

    Without question, Americans would prefer Twenty/20 to 50 over or test cricket. This is because most American sports are really short. Basketball, American football and even baseball are really short games. Indeed, many Americans complain that baseball lasts for too long - sometimes over 2 hours! Shock! Horror! As such, even Twenty/20 cricket, which can last for 2 1/2 hours, might be too long. Furthermore, wasn't there a report recently saying that there probably wasn't enough room for too many IPL-style competitions around the world? I mean, if we had them, then we wouldn't have much international cricket. Or is that the point? In soccer, the focus is more on domestic than international, and perhaps that is the future of cricket too. It sure is a tough one, but it might be worth a gamble. A big gamble though. Maybe better to start off small and see how it goes.

  • SaudAlvi on May 4, 2009, 4:31 GMT

    I think APL would be great, isn't the idea now that TV makes most money and not the ground ticket sales? we have enough people here to fill up stadiums, in NJ I play a soft ball leauge with 53 teams (only in this leauge and there are other leauges) and cricket ball leage in NY ... so we have cricket lovers .. south asians , westindians , british , australians .. oh comeon .. we have everyone from every cricket playing nation. Just put he match on un-paid tv and APL will rock !

  • Zaheerahmed on May 4, 2009, 3:51 GMT

    It would be a tremendous boost to cricket if the game gains popularity in the land of dreams. But Mr. Bindra should ensure that they should not foget to have the services of ICC Anti Corruption Unit as Lalit Modi conveniently did in IPL. I dont think cricket is still devoid of match fixing or black money (in case of IPL).

  • TwitterJitter on May 4, 2009, 3:10 GMT

    I cannot answer if it is a value proposition because we have not seen the plan. At this point it is just an idea. The questions are 1. What are the sources of revenue and how much? 2. What are the costs involved in conducting such a tournament (stadium lease, player contracts, team travel and stay, other overhead)? 3. Who is going to cover the gap between revenues and costs (costs will exceed revenue significantly unless they plan on televising and selling it to Indian market again as usual)? 4. How much investment are they planning on making and over what period? How are they planning on appealing to non-immigrant Americans if at all they are trying? I am pessimistic of their appeal beyond the South Asian and West Indian community. It could end up being a low-budget venture designed to saturate this target market so that non-official ventures can be nipped in the bud. It needs a huge (100+ million) investment each year for at least a decade for cricket to break into US market

  • cbesud2009 on May 4, 2009, 2:58 GMT

    If the ICC keeps on promoting 20/20 leagues , then cricket will become like football. In football, the league based professional club football is what the players are involved in the majority of the time. They play International football for their countries occassionally and when the WORLD CUP comes along. Even with the IPL , there are conflicts with players IPL commitments and their commitments to their country. If they keep promoting these lucrative 20/20 leagues, country based test and ODI cricket will eventually be killed

  • ColdRain on May 4, 2009, 2:27 GMT

    one word! ESPN

    get them involved and it'll quick start the cricket in usa. most of the people think it'll fail, i really doubt at least for initial years. Americans do love novelty but whether if thats a same case with sports im not quite sure. BTW Americans have a fantasy league for curling in olympics. Figure that.

  • Dine on May 4, 2009, 2:16 GMT

    Hey come on guys... I live here in US too.... The only thing people around me ask is, on which channel i can watch it? If only the ICC can get the first year going then from there it definitely would be a big success. The biggest key is to telecast it Prime Time on TV, the commentators have a very important role to play in the first couple of years to explain the game clearly to the viewers..... For CRICKET/CRICKETERS sake this must gone on well.......

  • inccricket on May 4, 2009, 1:56 GMT

    American don't know what Cricket is so I guess the first step is to go to schools and colleges and teach them the fundamentals of the game. ICC should publish and distribute free booklets that allow a common American to understand and appreciate the history and rules of the game. ICC can use baseball to co-relate Cricket as both have common roots. They can then use commercials, TV shows, frequent news reports, posters to popularize the game. Rest will follow.

  • azeem123 on May 3, 2009, 22:19 GMT

    As a former administrator of the game, I am of the view that the immediate target are the immigrants, and young children of immigrants. The cricket culture are already in the blood of the immigrants from India, Pakistan, West Indies.

    The same holds for Canada, a USA 2020 may well want to include Canada.

    With the right type of investment, the first years of such a venture will be successful, there must be a medium term plan, that also includes the schools, the colleges have some amount of crciket in Florida recently.

    Zee

  • Harvey on May 3, 2009, 22:11 GMT

    Soccer has now caught on in a limited way in the USA, but the financial expense involved in achieving this was astronomical. It involved failed leagues costing many millions of dollars, and the USA hosting a World Cup. Soccer was already played by a huge number of kids in American schools, so there was much less of an obstacle of unfamiliarity to overcome than would be the case with cricket. Surely the vast sums of money needed to popularise cricket in the USA would yield better results elsewhere? By the way, I'm shocked that I.S.Bindra thinks that cricket can't match baseball for excitement and glamour, with only Twenty20 coming close. I've tried to watch baseball, and I don't get it any more than most Americans will ever get cricket. Perhaps Mr. Bindra ought to apply to be a baseball administrator instead if cricket's not glamorous or exciting enough for him. Maybe he could take the likes of Lalit Modi and Giles Clarke with him, too.

  • gchandra on May 3, 2009, 21:36 GMT

    I love to see Top cricket stars playing in so proposed APL. But I do not think ICC will be able to implement it. May be ICL should move base to USA. Oh, wait, ICC will kill them anyways to keep BCCI happy. BCCI (and ICC), I do not think they want any one else to be successful, if it means taken IPL money away. Why do not they try hosting IPL next season in USA to promote it, if hey are keen.

  • Clean_hitter on May 3, 2009, 21:11 GMT

    If the ICC is serious, then they should either work with Major League Cricket (If they are still around) if that's not the case, then certainly re-establishing that brand is the best possible way to market the game to Americans.

  • evicl1982 on May 3, 2009, 20:49 GMT

    Ido not get it. What is the obsession of these ICC cricket administrators with having cricket played in America? Have any of these people ever talk to people living in America to hear how they speak down about cricket? The game of cricket is fine being played by those who play it now and some who will in the future who now appreciates it now for its beauty. Americans are jealous of any popular sport that they did not create and is loved by people of the world - see FOOTBALL. Cricket will be played in America by players from the countries that now play the game. No American youngster will not take up the game, beacuse it is not popular and therefore not lucrative enough and the radio and television people keep talking bad things about the game. Please relax, keep Americans away from our game. It has survived for as long as it has without America and it will continue to do so.

  • seeko555 on May 3, 2009, 20:47 GMT

    I just came back from NYC. There is a significant south asian population in that city. Americans, I bet you anything, will not be too interested in Cricket, but, yeah, the immigrants will go out to watch the games.

  • Fruho on May 3, 2009, 20:20 GMT

    do it! id come to every game!

  • timmyj on May 3, 2009, 18:43 GMT

    Well, if the ICC thinks 20/20 cricket is the way to go in the USA what exactly are they willing to do to help with this? Bindra says "model it after the IPL." Um, excuse me, the IPL was was undertaken in a cricket culture. Maybe the ICC would like to tell us how to do this in a country where no-one knows, or cares, anything about cricket. Or do they think there's no difference? Find private investors? Will the ICC help line them up? TV sales? Sponsorship? Grounds? Will the ICC help with these? Will it arm twist the top foreign players to join? To just go to an inept, pennyless, organization like the USACA and say "get going with 20/20" shows what naive simpletons Bindra and the USACA are when it comes to bringing cricket to Americans.

  • briancummins on May 3, 2009, 18:19 GMT

    Years ago I spoke to an American, he had seen cricket on TV. He described it as "baseball for catatonics". I didn't agree, but had to admit it was funny.

  • prempiyush on May 3, 2009, 18:18 GMT

    I think this would be a good move. An idea should be given time to implement properly and then grow. One cannot outrightly reject it. I believe that the desi population in the States would be the key.

  • NicoliD on May 3, 2009, 17:34 GMT

    At least they're thinking the right time of the year, the more they dodge the traditionally important sports in the US, the better the still minute chances this has of success. Then again, as a plan to try and pry money from the fingers of those that have moved from cricket playing countries, who knows? It might be more successful that way.

  • Clean_hitter on May 3, 2009, 16:59 GMT

    Ummm, wasn't a Twenty20 of this nature just proposed, and then squashed by the ICC, who now suggest this?

    Frankly I'm getting the impression this is less about growing cricket, and more about making sure the $ lands in the right pockets.

    "Volk" has put it nicely, I too have talked to Americans about cricket (albeit over the net) with mixed results. If the ICC is serious about getting the mainstream US population interested, this tournament must be accompanied by a considerable media campaign, educating Americans about cricket, and making sure they learn that cricket is an exciting, fast based game, and dispel the "tea and crumpets" type imagery often associated with the game.

  • Cricordia on May 3, 2009, 16:36 GMT

    NBA,NHL,MLB,NFL,MLS..even MLS has a hard time here(soccer). And Soccer is way more popular than Cricket in the US in terms of grassroot. This is a very ambitious step I would say if one is thinking dollars.There is no ad revenue etc. here for that, atleast not immediate. If business is not the idea, its the right aspiration to evangelize a sport. ICC has to pump in millions of dollars in infrastructure and events if they want an iota of the market here to start with.

  • Volk on May 3, 2009, 15:49 GMT

    As a cricket fan in the USA, I can say that this project is highly unlikely to be successful. People in this country don't seem to "get" cricket. When I try to explain the sport to them, their understanding never seems to get past "it's like baseball, but weird". As much as I'd love to see an American professional cricketing league, I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for it to happen. There's just no support here.

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  • Volk on May 3, 2009, 15:49 GMT

    As a cricket fan in the USA, I can say that this project is highly unlikely to be successful. People in this country don't seem to "get" cricket. When I try to explain the sport to them, their understanding never seems to get past "it's like baseball, but weird". As much as I'd love to see an American professional cricketing league, I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for it to happen. There's just no support here.

  • Cricordia on May 3, 2009, 16:36 GMT

    NBA,NHL,MLB,NFL,MLS..even MLS has a hard time here(soccer). And Soccer is way more popular than Cricket in the US in terms of grassroot. This is a very ambitious step I would say if one is thinking dollars.There is no ad revenue etc. here for that, atleast not immediate. If business is not the idea, its the right aspiration to evangelize a sport. ICC has to pump in millions of dollars in infrastructure and events if they want an iota of the market here to start with.

  • Clean_hitter on May 3, 2009, 16:59 GMT

    Ummm, wasn't a Twenty20 of this nature just proposed, and then squashed by the ICC, who now suggest this?

    Frankly I'm getting the impression this is less about growing cricket, and more about making sure the $ lands in the right pockets.

    "Volk" has put it nicely, I too have talked to Americans about cricket (albeit over the net) with mixed results. If the ICC is serious about getting the mainstream US population interested, this tournament must be accompanied by a considerable media campaign, educating Americans about cricket, and making sure they learn that cricket is an exciting, fast based game, and dispel the "tea and crumpets" type imagery often associated with the game.

  • NicoliD on May 3, 2009, 17:34 GMT

    At least they're thinking the right time of the year, the more they dodge the traditionally important sports in the US, the better the still minute chances this has of success. Then again, as a plan to try and pry money from the fingers of those that have moved from cricket playing countries, who knows? It might be more successful that way.

  • prempiyush on May 3, 2009, 18:18 GMT

    I think this would be a good move. An idea should be given time to implement properly and then grow. One cannot outrightly reject it. I believe that the desi population in the States would be the key.

  • briancummins on May 3, 2009, 18:19 GMT

    Years ago I spoke to an American, he had seen cricket on TV. He described it as "baseball for catatonics". I didn't agree, but had to admit it was funny.

  • timmyj on May 3, 2009, 18:43 GMT

    Well, if the ICC thinks 20/20 cricket is the way to go in the USA what exactly are they willing to do to help with this? Bindra says "model it after the IPL." Um, excuse me, the IPL was was undertaken in a cricket culture. Maybe the ICC would like to tell us how to do this in a country where no-one knows, or cares, anything about cricket. Or do they think there's no difference? Find private investors? Will the ICC help line them up? TV sales? Sponsorship? Grounds? Will the ICC help with these? Will it arm twist the top foreign players to join? To just go to an inept, pennyless, organization like the USACA and say "get going with 20/20" shows what naive simpletons Bindra and the USACA are when it comes to bringing cricket to Americans.

  • Fruho on May 3, 2009, 20:20 GMT

    do it! id come to every game!

  • seeko555 on May 3, 2009, 20:47 GMT

    I just came back from NYC. There is a significant south asian population in that city. Americans, I bet you anything, will not be too interested in Cricket, but, yeah, the immigrants will go out to watch the games.

  • evicl1982 on May 3, 2009, 20:49 GMT

    Ido not get it. What is the obsession of these ICC cricket administrators with having cricket played in America? Have any of these people ever talk to people living in America to hear how they speak down about cricket? The game of cricket is fine being played by those who play it now and some who will in the future who now appreciates it now for its beauty. Americans are jealous of any popular sport that they did not create and is loved by people of the world - see FOOTBALL. Cricket will be played in America by players from the countries that now play the game. No American youngster will not take up the game, beacuse it is not popular and therefore not lucrative enough and the radio and television people keep talking bad things about the game. Please relax, keep Americans away from our game. It has survived for as long as it has without America and it will continue to do so.