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USACA nets first sponsor, announces Colin Miller as ambassador

Peter Della Penna

June 3, 2013

Comments: 16 | Text size: A | A

Portrait of Colin Miller, October 2001
Colin Miller, the former Australia Test player, was appointed a USACA ambassador © Getty Images
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The USA Cricket Association has announced a one-year agreement with Smart Choice Auto Group to sponsor the men's national team. It's the first sponsorship deal secured by USACA chief executive Darren Beazley less than four months into the job, something that previous figureheads at the USACA failed to do. Beazley also announced former Australia Test player Colin Miller as a USACA ambassador.

"This is the first sponsorship. I'm hopeful there's going to be more," Beazley told ESPNcricinfo. "As more revenue comes in, we can start to extend our program. But I think this is a good step in the right direction."

The Texas-based auto dealership serves the Houston, Texas metropolitan area, but SCAG's owners also stated in a USACA press release that they have business interests in Dubai. USA is due to participate in the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier in the UAE in November and the opportunity to have increased local exposure during the tournament appealed to the company.

"As our company grows, we are looking for marketing vehicles that will promote a positive community message and allow us to interact with our clients in the USA and in the UAE," Sakhi Muhammad, president and chief executive of SCAG stated in a media release. "With that objective in mind, a sponsorship partnership with the US national men's team made a lot of sense."

Beazley said the funding from the sponsorship would help USACA in the organisation's goal to become more professional and less dependent solely on ICC funding.

"When we go to a tournament, we get a certain amount of funding from the ICC but there are costs that USACA has to bear that are above and beyond that. So this allows us to recoup some of that cost," Beazley said. "There are issues that we deal with that other teams don't necessarily deal with. We pay the players stipends that a lot of countries don't. We take more staff. The allowance from the ICC is for two staff. We primarily take four. It's all that sort of stuff. It's helping us meet those costs to try and make sure that our program is professional."

Beazley also announced the appointment of Miller as a USACA ambassador, the first person to be part of a new initiative spearheaded by Beazley in an attempt to raise awareness of the sport in the USA.

"At this stage my plan would be in the next 12 months to probably have four ambassadors across the country," he said. "They might come from sport like Funky [Miller] does or they might come from another sport or they might be completely outside and just be a high profile person."

Miller, 49, played 18 Tests for Australia from 1998 to 2001. In 2004, he was one of several former international cricketers to sign up and play in Pro Cricket, a Twenty20 domestic professional league in the USA that folded after one season. He currently resides in Las Vegas and Beazley said he hopes it will be possible for the USACA to arrange for Miller's involvement in some of the organisation's regional development plans on the west coast.

"With Funky, we want to try to get him involved in some of our coaching programs," Beazley said. "My intention is to try and develop this high performance program where we have stuff happening in the regions. If we could get Funky to go and work with some of the guys on the west coast from time to time, we just think that's going to add a bit of value too."

Peter Della Penna is a journalist based in New Jersey

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Posted by   on (June 5, 2013, 8:06 GMT)

Im from Pakistan, i live in USA. My friend is a former American football player, he asks me about cricket, and i hate explaining the game to him. I just play tennis with him. I can tell you Cricket wont work in America. After 9/11, a lot of Americans prefer to stay shut out. Let them.

Posted by nafzak on (June 4, 2013, 16:37 GMT)

I am from the WI. I love cricket as much as anyone else. I live in Maryland - near Wash. D.C. I am in full agreement with those who say that Cricket, lovely Cricket, will never 'catch on' in the USA. Sure Americans love their sports, but the NFL is dominant and with the NBA, MLB and NHL, there is little room for anything else. MLS has tried every trick..even bringing a washed up Beckham and they still barely get mentioned in teh mainstream media. Cricket is seen as a Brit thing and hardly gets a mention even when teh World Cup is on. Only people interested are expats like myself. As for our kids, well they prefer the NBA or NFL. Sad but true. Let's not waste effort on China, Hong Kong, USA, etc. ICC should focus on B/Desh, Ireland, Netherlands, Afghanistan, Nepal and a few others, where cricket actually may have a chance.

Posted by   on (June 4, 2013, 11:23 GMT)

As Hawk89 stated, most of the players on associate teams most times are players from commonwealth countries who are not talented enough to make state/ranji level teams back home.

The bigger problem in all of this is the fact that no one knows what cricket is all about. I think the best way to introduce cricket to america is to air T20 matches be it IPL or CLT20. USACA needs to work with ICC to promote the game here by exposure on tv not having games with expats and where its done more out of interest. Just imagine trying to start a basketball/baseball/football league in india & magically hope it catches on. It would be easier to air some games on tv & do some promoting of it & then maybe host a few matches there between some big teams rather than expats who are highschool level talents.

America is a big goldmine for sports revenue, even MLS & Nascar have fans. Just have to market it right & expose people to the sport through TV. Internet is a great asset, use it.

Posted by   on (June 4, 2013, 5:50 GMT)

@Cpt.Meanster, they already have some pretty handy young afro american players. Just look at Steve Taylor, played the innings of the tournament in the recent division 3 comp. The US just need a proper admin and maybe they've now stumbled on the right man to lead it. This isn't realy about Funky Miller at all, far more important is this Darren Beazley fella who is already securing sponsorship etc.

Posted by   on (June 4, 2013, 1:45 GMT)

I really doubt that the powerful lobbies of MLB, NBA and NHL will let cricket succeed in US. The T20 version of cricket has all the pontential take sizeable market away from these three pro leagues. NFL is untouchable in my opnion but MLB is already struggling in US and they already have competition from steadily growing MLS..

Posted by HawK89 on (June 3, 2013, 23:23 GMT)

We don't need cricket anywhere else. Americans have no interest in the sport as their NFL is far more entertaining to them. China don't care either. The Hong Kong XI, China and USA players are currently sub-continent rejects that couldn't make it in their own country (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, etc). The only they will bring to the table is MONEY, not good games to watch.

Posted by Robster1 on (June 3, 2013, 21:55 GMT)

A positive signing - good luck to all involved

Posted by nick_mehta_charlotte on (June 3, 2013, 21:33 GMT)

The only thing can cricket live in USA is if USACA pulls every cricket playing community in USA to one stage and then go look for sponsorships.... The Cricket is way big in USA if comparison is not with India.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (June 3, 2013, 19:59 GMT)

*YAWN*, another Aussie in the USA trying to pretend "American" cricket is reviving. Honestly, all of this makes me laugh. The REAL Americans will never embrace cricket. Sure, it would be the immigrants who will admire these facets of the sport's presence in the land of liberty. However, the harsh truth is that "American" cricket will only be genuine when true Americans play the game. Till then, sadly, I can only say cricket is an immigrant's past time in the US.

Posted by   on (June 3, 2013, 19:52 GMT)

cricket in knoxville, TN please. many players available even americans

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