Cricket in the USA June 1, 2010

'ICC should look at USA for future events' - Lockerbie

Cricinfo staff
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Don Lockerbie, the chief executive of the USA Cricket Association, has said the key to popularising the sport in the United States lies in more international cricket being played there. Speaking to Harsha Bhogle on Cricinfo's audio show Time Out, Lockerbie said he aimed to replicate for cricket the wave of popularity the FIFA World Cup in 1994 generated for football in the United States, and believed that, like football, cricket too would have a professional league in the country in due time. While acknowledging that Twenty20 cricket was the main vehicle to draw more people to the game, he added there was potential for the longer versions to attract a fan base as well.

"In 1994, the soccer World Cup took place, and it generated great interest in the sport and it was followed by the Major League Soccer which started in 1996, two years later," Lockerbie said. "We are looking to do that too. We would love for the ICC to look at the United States in the future for some ICC events.

"We are well under way in a planning situation wherein we are working towards professionalisation of cricket in the US," he said. "We are working towards equalising what some of the other Associate nations like Ireland, Scotland, Holland and Canada have been able to do recently; beginning to put some of their players on professional retainers, and some of these players are now travelling and playing all over the world and getting IPL opportunities. We need to do that in the United States, and along with that will come a professional league."

USA recently hosted a Twenty20 series between Sri Lanka and New Zealand, and Lockerbie said that was the first step towards getting more fans to the game. "We are looking to bring in the best teams in the world," he said. "Even 14 years after the Major League Soccer started in the United States they are averaging 14,000, 17,000, 18,000 people to a match, which isn't too bad. But when Barcelona comes to play Manchester United in Philadelphia they have 90,000. Why is that? When Mexico plays the United States, they can get 100,000 at the Rose Bowl. So the point is that the soccer has a good history now of being positive. By bringing in 'Destination USA,' events, and what we think was a successful Sri Lanka-New Zealand series, we start that way."

The potential for investing in cricket in the US remained huge, Lockerbie said, given the country's infrastructure and record for hosting sporting events with success. "Well, our little game is the second most popular sport in the world, as I view it, behind football. With the great interest from the rest of the world, in the United States, people want to do business in United States. We believe that we are on our way to corporate sponsorship, investment in US cricket, development of facilities.

"The mayor of Indianapolis is very serious about building a cricket stadium; Indianapolis is often called the sports capital of the United States. The Indianapolis 500 just took place the other day, with 500,000 fans at the event, the world largest one-day sporting event. We know how to put on events, and their attitude is - cricket is the second most popular sport in the world and why wouldn't there be a stadium in Indianapolis.

"The city of New York has said to us that one day they would like to have a cricket venue, and they could see themselves as the capital of cricket in the United States. We could become the capital of cricket in the western hemisphere. This is a very big step, and I am hoping to work with my board of directors, our investors, and sponsors, to make that happen in the next three or five years."

In addition to making the United States, with its large untapped fan base, a prime destination for international cricket, Lockerbie stated two other main goals: ensuring the US national team qualifies for the 2015 World Cup and developing a youth programme by taking cricket to the schools.

While conceding Twenty20 cricket was the spark to draw more support for the game in the US, Lockerbie said that Tests and ODIs too, if played by the right teams, stood the potential to take off. "That's [T20] is the perfect storm for us. We are better organised, and there is growing interest. Even in the last five-six years, the amount of immigrants moving to the United States, who are cricket crazy, has just doubled and tripled. So we are ready to go with that perfect storm, the Twenty20 game.

"In the right city, with the right demographics, with the right two teams playing, I don't see why four-five day cricket is any different than Phil Mickelson teeing off on Thursday and winning a golf tournament on Sunday. You've had 60,000 people walking that golf course. Now if India plays almost anybody in a Test match, say in New York, we will have 40,000-50,000 people there."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on January 7, 2014, 20:37 GMT

    ha ha ha . ho !!! not ICC dear!!! but U gotta plead BCCI!!!!

  • Nerk on June 2, 2010, 14:25 GMT

    The U.S. are far too insular about their sports. For all the investment in football/soccer, the U.S. national team is still relatively weak. Same story for Rugby. The U.S., for all the money there, for all the potential, will never embrace cricket as much as the I.C.C. would like. The problem is that the I.C.C. is wasting money on this pipedream, taking it away from countries that deserve it more. Nations that are feilding good sides and have the basic thing the U.S. lacks - home grown natural talent.

  • SnowSnake on June 2, 2010, 13:45 GMT

    Why are people so presumptuous about Americans. I can see why Lockerbie is saying all these nice things about US because his job depends on the growth of cricket. Most American cricket fans follow cricket on the internet. I am not looking forward to seeing cricket in my city even if ICC were to organize it in the place where I live. If you are a real cricket fan the you probably know what waste of time it is especially if your team loses. It is an emotional rollercoster that has an impact of your work place productivity. I would rather work and follow cricket scores with a browser open in a background than go watch cricket in a stadium. If I were to watch anything in the stadium then it has to be college football or NFL football. The crowd is electrifying in football games. Who wants to see cricket games in USA with bunch of sparsly populated crowd of old people.

  • on June 2, 2010, 10:52 GMT

    Why USA?Let them first qualify for the world cup.Then we can play matches there.

  • on June 2, 2010, 10:14 GMT

    Please not the U.S here also.Why usa?The ICC is not aiming at any place in asia or africa.They are being partial.They even had no problems in letting a person without cricketing background from australia to become the ICC president.Let a team called U.S.A qualify for the world cup for once and then we can have matches played in the U.S.A

  • greeny69 on June 2, 2010, 9:34 GMT

    i would like to see cricket in the USA do wel.l People forget that cricket has a long history in the county in fact thay were in the 1st international ever played in cricket against canada in 1844

  • on June 2, 2010, 9:13 GMT

    Revised, I did not read this article or any comments. For 25 years I am thinking how to promote cricket in USA. I had several Pakistani test cricketers as my close friends and I used to sit with players due to free passes. I know that it is very very difficult to get local Americans to get involved in Cricket. You may have to steal the fans from baseball. Of course we have plenty of overseas cricket fans already but they don't have enough money or time. So After long calculations finally I reached to the conclusion that just before major league Baseball game a 6 over cricket exhibition match should be played and televised. Moreover, temporarily game has to be modified for locals so it is pretty much like baseball. For example all 11 players from each teams plays one whole inning and each player is only allowed max3 pitches if he gets out so be it but last player is allowed 6 pitches if he gets out so be it. Each team must have 6 pitchers each is allowed one over. This is the best.

  • redneck on June 2, 2010, 6:30 GMT

    if a team led by don bradman couldnt win them over in the 30's what chance have they got now with more sports competing in that market? besides the game has too many internal problems that must be sorted out before expanding! it only makes cricket as a sport look stupid when the icc cant answer what exactly is required for test status or even produce a championship for ten test playing nations!!!

  • on June 2, 2010, 4:34 GMT

    i think they should try cricket in usa, how can we say it won't work in usa without even trying it? not everyone has to be agree with me, every sport need some time to settle in any country and i think it would work really good.

  • on June 2, 2010, 0:39 GMT

    Is this guy for real? Does this guy live in the USA? Does this guy listen to sports radio and TV in America? If he were any of these things he would not be spewing all this nonsense about getting Cricket in this country. Cricket WILL NEVER take off here. Football (Soccer) did to a limited extent because of girls that mostly play it and their mothers that dcrive them around to do it. Then again we want to introduce cricket to the world and we want to use the T/20 version. This is suppose to let people know the game of cricket??? As far as I am concerned I an not going bto watch ANY of this stupidity they call T/20 cricket. This version of the game is for those people who want to make a quick buck from the game, but feel ashamed to come out and say so, instead the dress it up as cricket. Sorry not for me.

  • on January 7, 2014, 20:37 GMT

    ha ha ha . ho !!! not ICC dear!!! but U gotta plead BCCI!!!!

  • Nerk on June 2, 2010, 14:25 GMT

    The U.S. are far too insular about their sports. For all the investment in football/soccer, the U.S. national team is still relatively weak. Same story for Rugby. The U.S., for all the money there, for all the potential, will never embrace cricket as much as the I.C.C. would like. The problem is that the I.C.C. is wasting money on this pipedream, taking it away from countries that deserve it more. Nations that are feilding good sides and have the basic thing the U.S. lacks - home grown natural talent.

  • SnowSnake on June 2, 2010, 13:45 GMT

    Why are people so presumptuous about Americans. I can see why Lockerbie is saying all these nice things about US because his job depends on the growth of cricket. Most American cricket fans follow cricket on the internet. I am not looking forward to seeing cricket in my city even if ICC were to organize it in the place where I live. If you are a real cricket fan the you probably know what waste of time it is especially if your team loses. It is an emotional rollercoster that has an impact of your work place productivity. I would rather work and follow cricket scores with a browser open in a background than go watch cricket in a stadium. If I were to watch anything in the stadium then it has to be college football or NFL football. The crowd is electrifying in football games. Who wants to see cricket games in USA with bunch of sparsly populated crowd of old people.

  • on June 2, 2010, 10:52 GMT

    Why USA?Let them first qualify for the world cup.Then we can play matches there.

  • on June 2, 2010, 10:14 GMT

    Please not the U.S here also.Why usa?The ICC is not aiming at any place in asia or africa.They are being partial.They even had no problems in letting a person without cricketing background from australia to become the ICC president.Let a team called U.S.A qualify for the world cup for once and then we can have matches played in the U.S.A

  • greeny69 on June 2, 2010, 9:34 GMT

    i would like to see cricket in the USA do wel.l People forget that cricket has a long history in the county in fact thay were in the 1st international ever played in cricket against canada in 1844

  • on June 2, 2010, 9:13 GMT

    Revised, I did not read this article or any comments. For 25 years I am thinking how to promote cricket in USA. I had several Pakistani test cricketers as my close friends and I used to sit with players due to free passes. I know that it is very very difficult to get local Americans to get involved in Cricket. You may have to steal the fans from baseball. Of course we have plenty of overseas cricket fans already but they don't have enough money or time. So After long calculations finally I reached to the conclusion that just before major league Baseball game a 6 over cricket exhibition match should be played and televised. Moreover, temporarily game has to be modified for locals so it is pretty much like baseball. For example all 11 players from each teams plays one whole inning and each player is only allowed max3 pitches if he gets out so be it but last player is allowed 6 pitches if he gets out so be it. Each team must have 6 pitchers each is allowed one over. This is the best.

  • redneck on June 2, 2010, 6:30 GMT

    if a team led by don bradman couldnt win them over in the 30's what chance have they got now with more sports competing in that market? besides the game has too many internal problems that must be sorted out before expanding! it only makes cricket as a sport look stupid when the icc cant answer what exactly is required for test status or even produce a championship for ten test playing nations!!!

  • on June 2, 2010, 4:34 GMT

    i think they should try cricket in usa, how can we say it won't work in usa without even trying it? not everyone has to be agree with me, every sport need some time to settle in any country and i think it would work really good.

  • on June 2, 2010, 0:39 GMT

    Is this guy for real? Does this guy live in the USA? Does this guy listen to sports radio and TV in America? If he were any of these things he would not be spewing all this nonsense about getting Cricket in this country. Cricket WILL NEVER take off here. Football (Soccer) did to a limited extent because of girls that mostly play it and their mothers that dcrive them around to do it. Then again we want to introduce cricket to the world and we want to use the T/20 version. This is suppose to let people know the game of cricket??? As far as I am concerned I an not going bto watch ANY of this stupidity they call T/20 cricket. This version of the game is for those people who want to make a quick buck from the game, but feel ashamed to come out and say so, instead the dress it up as cricket. Sorry not for me.

  • ozziefan08 on June 1, 2010, 22:39 GMT

    I seriously dont think cricket will ever take off in the U.S.A look at their national team now they are just ex-pats who couldnt get a game in their home countries. Everyone keeps saying its an untapped market but if it is going to happen it needs to be set up at grassroots level first. Taking a major tournament to a country where no one knows how to prepare the pitches and really i dont think many americans will care about it is a bit of a joke. There are too many other sports in the american market that pay alot more than cricket starting in the U.S will be able to play. They should be focusing on getting countries like Ireland and Kenya to test status, and other smaller nations into playing more ODI's before moving into the U.S.A

  • on June 1, 2010, 20:54 GMT

    Sorry, cricket will always remain a sport in USA that is followed by subcontinental ex pats...nothing more. The longer versions of the game will never ever take root in USA, and even T20 will not be able to gain a foothold because it'll have to fight for tv ratings against basketball/baseball/football (American)...not to mention hockey as well. The only reason soccer has been able to become a cult sports in USA is because a) it's really popular amongst women and children (hence the term soccer mom in the lexicon) and b) the huge Latin American population in USA...and they love their soccer. The IndoPakBangladeshi population in USA is nowhere near as large...and they alone won't be able to make cricket even a cult sports in USA.

  • timmyj on June 1, 2010, 18:04 GMT

    Absolutely, positively, no way in the world will Americans play or watch cricket games that take six hours and are played over four days. I can't believe people are blindly willing to give money to a guy who has never worked with Americans at cricket and hasn't got a clue about what the average American thinks about the game.

  • on June 1, 2010, 16:42 GMT

    They should also look at the possibility of airing more of the matches on local television, especially in the areas where the interests are high. This would bring some more awareness to the game and its fundamentals. No mention was made in the local media about the international T20 matches that were held in Florida in May 2010 between New Zealand and Sri Lanka. This has to chance and Mr. Lockerbie should look into this aspect of making more information on the sport available and work more on getting matches played in the US, even if its domestic matches.

  • villans5 on June 1, 2010, 16:11 GMT

    I dont think so, how US can allow some people to their country, PAK, Bang. team, as they are too much bother about muslim names. they can come and play cricket in any country in the world.

  • AjaySridharan on June 1, 2010, 15:59 GMT

    I like the idea of China as a potential target. Why are you breaking your heads over the US? It's like convincing a girl that doesn't want to marry you in the first place. you might end up with the winner's curse. If China adopts cricket, and they just might to do an one-upmanship on India, you would have almost doubled the cricket market in terms of viewership.

  • on June 1, 2010, 15:15 GMT

    I hope cricket becomes succesful in da US.The T20 version can attract a lot of US fans like baseball.I hope the ICC helps in the funding for building facilities in the US nd I also hope dat some tornament is played nin US in the future.

  • AndyZaltzmannsHair on June 1, 2010, 14:24 GMT

    Is it just me or does no one else in the world of cricket realise that the US is effectively a "dying-fast becoming bankrupt" nation? The lucrative middle classes they speak of are being wiped away as we speak, and unemployment is fast increasing. The cost of actually implement infrastructure, schools, nation-wide equipment, marketing, stadiums etc would cost tens of billions of dollars, something which at present US cricket (nor world cricket) has. This coupled with the fact that the US market has been tried and unsuccessfully broken many times before should have made things clear that outside of the ex-pat community there just isn't a market and the ex-pat community is not big enough to sustain it alone. World cricket has spent far too long trying to break a market that doesn't want cricket and neglected other lucrative markets which could and should have been targeted. China, Brazil and other African / Middle Eastern nations should be targeted from here on out, but chances are slim.

  • Omarrz on June 1, 2010, 13:58 GMT

    Arrange a T20 tri series between Pak India and WI and make the pitch batting friendly...

  • Icyman on June 1, 2010, 11:26 GMT

    I hope not. The US Govt and its visa policies dont go down too well with the people in the subcontinent. It is quite hard for ppl to get US Visas and thus playing in the USA will not be a lucrative option for the ICC. I suppose this is the reason why the ICC World Cup 2007 didnt see any matches in Florida.

  • jackiethepen on June 1, 2010, 10:25 GMT

    Twenty-20 might be too like baseball to get a real fan base. The longer game might attract more interest if it is explained properly like the excellent Channel 4 commentary did. Channel 4 generated a real buzz around cricket because it didn't take the intricacies of the game for granted. People get really keen when the much loved complexities of the game are explained. That is what makes cricket different and why it has survived because people just get fascinated by the play at a deeper level. Take the West Indies for a good example. There you have a real understanding of the game and it is followed at the most profound level. Never underestimate how interesting cricket is for the fan. Twenty-20 is a bit of a thrill at first but it is a bit empty compared to the longer game.

  • _csb on June 1, 2010, 9:28 GMT

    Well, I'm looking forward to cricket stadium in New York and the youth programme. Please deliver it in next 3 to 5 years as said. There is no difference between you and an Indian politician if you don't !! :P

  • sameeullah on June 1, 2010, 7:55 GMT

    Don Lockerbie means bussiness.Well done Don.i hope what u imagine becomes reality for you.Best of luck for Future.I hope ICC will alot USA a twenty20 wolrd cup in next four-five years.Don First you have to make Good Cricket fields else It will be difficult for you to get Good teams to USA.

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  • sameeullah on June 1, 2010, 7:55 GMT

    Don Lockerbie means bussiness.Well done Don.i hope what u imagine becomes reality for you.Best of luck for Future.I hope ICC will alot USA a twenty20 wolrd cup in next four-five years.Don First you have to make Good Cricket fields else It will be difficult for you to get Good teams to USA.

  • _csb on June 1, 2010, 9:28 GMT

    Well, I'm looking forward to cricket stadium in New York and the youth programme. Please deliver it in next 3 to 5 years as said. There is no difference between you and an Indian politician if you don't !! :P

  • jackiethepen on June 1, 2010, 10:25 GMT

    Twenty-20 might be too like baseball to get a real fan base. The longer game might attract more interest if it is explained properly like the excellent Channel 4 commentary did. Channel 4 generated a real buzz around cricket because it didn't take the intricacies of the game for granted. People get really keen when the much loved complexities of the game are explained. That is what makes cricket different and why it has survived because people just get fascinated by the play at a deeper level. Take the West Indies for a good example. There you have a real understanding of the game and it is followed at the most profound level. Never underestimate how interesting cricket is for the fan. Twenty-20 is a bit of a thrill at first but it is a bit empty compared to the longer game.

  • Icyman on June 1, 2010, 11:26 GMT

    I hope not. The US Govt and its visa policies dont go down too well with the people in the subcontinent. It is quite hard for ppl to get US Visas and thus playing in the USA will not be a lucrative option for the ICC. I suppose this is the reason why the ICC World Cup 2007 didnt see any matches in Florida.

  • Omarrz on June 1, 2010, 13:58 GMT

    Arrange a T20 tri series between Pak India and WI and make the pitch batting friendly...

  • AndyZaltzmannsHair on June 1, 2010, 14:24 GMT

    Is it just me or does no one else in the world of cricket realise that the US is effectively a "dying-fast becoming bankrupt" nation? The lucrative middle classes they speak of are being wiped away as we speak, and unemployment is fast increasing. The cost of actually implement infrastructure, schools, nation-wide equipment, marketing, stadiums etc would cost tens of billions of dollars, something which at present US cricket (nor world cricket) has. This coupled with the fact that the US market has been tried and unsuccessfully broken many times before should have made things clear that outside of the ex-pat community there just isn't a market and the ex-pat community is not big enough to sustain it alone. World cricket has spent far too long trying to break a market that doesn't want cricket and neglected other lucrative markets which could and should have been targeted. China, Brazil and other African / Middle Eastern nations should be targeted from here on out, but chances are slim.

  • on June 1, 2010, 15:15 GMT

    I hope cricket becomes succesful in da US.The T20 version can attract a lot of US fans like baseball.I hope the ICC helps in the funding for building facilities in the US nd I also hope dat some tornament is played nin US in the future.

  • AjaySridharan on June 1, 2010, 15:59 GMT

    I like the idea of China as a potential target. Why are you breaking your heads over the US? It's like convincing a girl that doesn't want to marry you in the first place. you might end up with the winner's curse. If China adopts cricket, and they just might to do an one-upmanship on India, you would have almost doubled the cricket market in terms of viewership.

  • villans5 on June 1, 2010, 16:11 GMT

    I dont think so, how US can allow some people to their country, PAK, Bang. team, as they are too much bother about muslim names. they can come and play cricket in any country in the world.

  • on June 1, 2010, 16:42 GMT

    They should also look at the possibility of airing more of the matches on local television, especially in the areas where the interests are high. This would bring some more awareness to the game and its fundamentals. No mention was made in the local media about the international T20 matches that were held in Florida in May 2010 between New Zealand and Sri Lanka. This has to chance and Mr. Lockerbie should look into this aspect of making more information on the sport available and work more on getting matches played in the US, even if its domestic matches.