In the last few months, the landscape of English Cricket has changed remarkably, both professionally and recreationally at the grass roots.
Not so long ago, following England’s disastrous World Cup campaign down under, it seemed as if the sport in England was headed to its darkest corners. Consistently, reports of player unrest that had shadowed the English cricket team for the last two years kept surfacing, drawing the worst portrayal of the bureaucracy and dirty politics inside the dressing room. Moreover, a less than convincing performance in the Caribbean had all English fans fear the worst was still to come as England looked to take on the world’s most devastating teams in New Zealand and Australia.
On the recreational front, surveys released by the ECB provide disheartening statistics of the dwindling state of amateur cricket. Amateur cricket clubs are closing, many with over a century of tradition. Clubs can barely make finances meet, and more and more members are pulling out of playing cricket as role of men in modern society is changing. To make things worse, the British summers have not exactly been the best, with rain washing out a considerable amount of playable cricket.
Thankfully, England produced one of its finest cricketing summers, producing not just the right results but also capturing the public’s attention by their style of play. For this great credit must go to all the players, and bodies involved in making this happen. However, the recreational game is still under threat.
Although the same cricket bodies invest great time and resource to develop the recreational game, they still require our support to keep it sustainable. Our support that comes through selfless dedication to the sport and acceptance to integrate technology and innovation to make the game more enjoyable and engaging.
Is innovation the Answer?
Yes. Due to two particular reasons:
- NEED: Not just cricket, but all sport across the world is being affected by innovation. Brands such as PlayStation, X-Box and Nintendo are competing with proper real sports. The ECB, MCC and cricket counties themselves cannot help keep the game alive. They need innovation from business to help them grow the game. And it has been proven within the sport that good innovation can help increase the popularity of the sport. Look at the IPL, or the mongoose cricket bat that got the world buzzing, or look at Brendon McCullum or AB DE Villiers.
- EASE: If ever, this has been the best time to innovate in the UK in any field. The government has cut down all the red tape involved in starting a business, made it easier to access finance and also introduced tax incentives for investors. Moreover, technology has reduced start-up costs to bare minimums and support structures have been set to help small businesses succeed. With the ease of doing business comes the ability to invest in bold ideas and innovation.
Professional cricket in the UK has bounced back with a feel good factor and signs are looking positive, however, the recreational game needs lots of support and input from all cricket enthusiasts. This gap is what represents a massive market opportunity for innovation and entrepreneurship, and makes us believe that the Cricket industry is open for business.
Next week we will release a blog, that will explore why doing business in cricket is both profitable and rewarding.
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