Posted in Cricket, Leadership, Management, Sport

Governance and sporting organisations

May 2 – The debate about governance in sport continues to rage. Closer home in the West Indies there are several suggestions regarding governance in cricket. There are always ways and means being devised to be efficient and effective simultaneously. One thing is sure, there is no one-size fit all model which works, but it is important to adjust based on the needs of the global sporting industry at the time while ensuring that the revenue streams remain open.

The ideal answer for any sporting organisation lies in the organisation’s ability to create an environment for its athletes to have the best access to preparation to perform at the highest level and to maximise earnings for as long as is possible.

The sporting organisation is also to facilitate a workable environment for all its stakeholders – public and private sectors aimed at getting the best returns on brand value of the sport.

HighPerformance SportSportsStructures

According to Arnout Geeraert “the self-governed hierarchic networks that traditionally constitutes the sport world are increasingly facing attempts by governments – mostly due to the commercialization of sport – and empowered stakeholder organisations to interfere in their policy processes.” He went on to say that there is a shift from the top down structure to a flatter and horizontal form which demand a new standard of governance.

My take on governance is there is always a challenge in the process of maintaining ‘good governance’ as sporting federations try to maintain the balance between choosing the most appropriate model and how resources are used to maximise the value of the sport at the time. The human, physical, financial and technological elements are all important.

Four major and keys areas which all contribute to better sport governance are:

  • Transparency and public communication
  • Democratic process
  • Checks and balances
  • Solidarity

Sport in the 21st century and beyond requires the most effective management with the highest return on investment.

There is the business model which is designed to earn a profit in the marketplace and the sport’s value is at the base of this model. This process has to be managed where the leaders are focused on ensuring the sport product has the greatest value. The mistake sport leaders make is they believe business models are equal to revenue models; both are similar but not the same. As it turns out, revenues and costs are key to making a good business model. Below is an example of how the concept of a business model become concrete:

BusinessModelFocus

The four key areas of what good governance is perceived as today must be adhered to. Sporting organisations must be prepared to let the public know what they are doing. Sporting bodies should take into consideration stakeholder participation is important and its democratic processes are paramount to selecting the most appropriate/available/able people at the time. The lack of a true democratic process will often result in mismanagement.

A highlight of true democracy is being able to have the systems work. Geeraert in his article in Play The Game suggests that “a checks and balances system is paramount to prevent the concentration of power in organisation and it ensures decision-making is robust, independent and free from improper influence.” The final of the four – solidarity – is really where organisations figure that social, environmental and ethical practices can complement and supplement the day-to-day work.

For more on Play The Game visit here http://playthegame.org/

The issues surrounding sport are global and in the 2015 edition of the Play The Game conference there were a series of topics of which – Good governance in sport: setting standards, raising bars – was discussed. You can view the presentations here http://playthegame.org/conferences/play-the-game-2015/

The discussion continues.

Note: Information collected from Play The Game; coachr.org

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Posted in Leadership, Management, Sport

ATHLETES, MONEY AND SPORT

February 22 – The United States of America has over 320 million people (census of 2014). The sport business flourishes in that country and will boast of their world series in basketball, ice hockey, baseball and the Super Bowl.

What we have seen though is, the massive support the sport business there attracts through broadcast rights. The impact of having that massive number is the reason why there is an almost 5-billion-dollar media rights for the National Football League (NFL) that is on TV for just over five months. There are 32 teams in that league.

Broadcast Rights

In the National Basketball Association (NBA) there are 30 teams. In December 2010, Forbes, the established business publication carried comments regarding the ‘watering down of the NBA’. Lebron James was quoted as saying there were too many teams and it is why the NBA has become the league of the rich and poor. Now that is just close to 600 players on the collective rosters.

The Forbes article also pointed out that while Miami, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles teams were set to make money, some teams from Atlanta, Indiana, Memphis and New Orleans could lose. What came out of that was players at the time got slightly higher than half of the revenue and to make the NBA work and satisfy the game and the league, those earnings from revenues were lowered. So rather than reducing the number of teams, the players made a sacrifice. The league is still on and fans are still enjoying the game. More players too are getting endorsements.

Now let’s look at the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), the 62-year old organisation which in the last 20 years has had intermittently, due to disputes, four major interruptions in the regular season. While no games were lost in the 1995 season because of the July 1 to September 12 timeline, the league was still affected. In 1998, the 29 team franchises at the time, played only 50 games which equalled a loss of 200 days. There were interruptions again in 2011 and 2013. The point is, there can be interruptions, but the games go on.

PlayersUnion

And oh, the NBPA only requires 260 minimum players to sign up, up to 2013, they had 300. That translates to – not all players are members. What is even more interesting, one of the richest players in the league today, Lebron James, is a vice president of the players’ association. My understanding of that is, while he is “set” – he wants the best for the sport and those around him.

Just some information on the top paid players in the NBA the last three seasons – Kobe Bryant, Joe Johnson, Lebron James, Dwight Howard and Chris Bosh.

There are a bunch of players who have taken lower salaries and have a tremendous list of endorsements so their overall value is always being maximised. That is a model than can work and should work.

The point is – we here in the Caribbean have to figure a way to negotiate salaries, incentives, and emoluments whether you are retained (on a payroll) or you are a free agent. That process should not take away from the fact that in spite of how you feel about your parent-body, the game comes first. The focus should be on preparing in order to win. Endorsements will come. And in this competitive sporting arena, the Caribbean athletes are no longer competing in this region, but instead the walls of the elite athletes’ world are closing in.

freeagent

Get in the game and make sure you do what is required to stay in the game.

Posted in Branding, Leadership, Management, Sport

Ten Things An Athlete Must Always Remember

Saturday, January 9 – This week could almost be described a distraction to sports. After news flashed about the off the field matters of cricket’s Chris Gayle, football’s YaYa Toure and Luis Suarez, we now know that the off the field activities are scrutinized even more than ever. We also see where the IAAF and FIFA continue to make the news for boardroom issues rather than the next World Cup or Olympic Games.

With that said though and with the evidence and chronicling of all those events, are athletes role models or the right symbols? I leave that for you to answer.

role-models-300x187

This blog will serve though as a reminder to all aspiring, current and even retired athletes that whether you are running, jumping, bowling, batting, swimming or riding, you are under constant watch and here are some things you should remember…

  1. Your sport is your work, and when you are at work, you should conduct yourselves in an appropriate manner
  2. When you are at work, you must consider your work colleagues and how your work may impact on them
  3. You are what you text, tweet, post on Facebook, YouTube or any other social media space
  4. Even in off-season you are still the star and so your conduct should still be in keeping with good standards
  5. During this time sit with an expert who can guide you on how to communicate in the most effective and efficient way
  6. Your country must come first. It is really where you got your start
  7. Align yourselves with the right brands and maximise while you are still active
  8. Create a Foundation somewhere in the middle of your career, it will become a great way to give back
  9. Sign autographs once in a while
  10. Do not ingest any substances you cannot declare

Leigh Steinberg in a column in 2012 wrote – professional sports is only a gateway for the few. But when Heavyweight Boxing Champion Lennox Lewis said on a public service announcement that “Real Men Don’t Hit Women” he made a great contribution to young people’s perception of what is embodied in true masculinity. Disaffected teenagers may tune out authority figures–parents, teachers, and commercial messages. A superstar athlete can permeate that perceptual screen to deliver a message of inspiration and hope.

Whether or not you choose to become a role model, you become one.

 

Posted in Branding, Caribbean, Leadership, Management, Media, Music, Sport

Sports management and leadership going forward

December 9 – For the purpose of this article, I will list a few things about the current global sports market and how it can impact on economic development. When we talk about the sports market today, we think of

  1. Broadcast rights – television, internet, mobile devices, satellite radio and local radio
  2. Sponsorship and Naming Rights
  3. Merchandising – from a pin to an anchor
  4. Ticketing

In other words the market is wide open. The audience is no longer divided by borders, but instead sports content can be consumed anywhere, anytime and anyone with a device and if one is at the right place at the right time.

FG-Sports-Market-4

Now, more athletes are getting paid and more athletes are getting a lot of money. Some sports however have to contend with the view that worldwide audiences among them vary depending on whether the event is a National Championship, Regional Championship, World Championship or is a feature of an Olympic Games (summer/winter).

Administration 

The sporting organisations which up to 30 years ago were largely run by volunteers are now being run by business executives with specific expertise in commercial operations, marketing and business development. What has happened too is the organisations are becoming flatter. The FIVB for example replaced the hierachy with a President, Executive Vice Presidents from the (strategic) regions and Commissions to ensure the work is carried out – see more on the structure here http://www.fivb.org/EN/FIVB/Executive_Committee.asp

While FIFA is currently experiencing turmoil and retains the number one slot for television audience worldwide, volleyball, unbelievably is in the top five. The beach element remains one of the most watched in the Summer Olympics Games. According to Mintzberg and Quinn (1991) “organisations with political designs have no dominant mechanism of coordination,”; in a table used by Thibault and Quarterman, Contemporary Sport Management, the summary shows that a sporting organisation with a simple design yields greater efficiency.

The publication goes on to state that the simple structures are accompanied by strategic plans to cope with the ‘environment’. The environment sport is in today speaks to commercial viability based on the four key areas mentioned in the top of this article.

Obviously the text would reference the information in a situation where the athletes/teams for which these plans are in effect for are at the top of their games and so all is required is to adjust structure and governance to bring success.

mainstadium2.jpg

Sporting dynasties are not on extended wins as much as they were and new franchises, teams, countries are emerging to clip the dominance of those which once were always winning. The scientific approach to sports is in play and those who invest from the bottom up will have sustained top performances for years to come.

Caribbean in a dilemma

The Caribbean Sporting Industry has to re-focus its attention on an economic model one which has teams/athletes that can attract highest levels of sponsor partnership; one where athletes get endorsements from products and services in the region and certainly where consumers can get access to the content. What then can the Caribbean do to ensure that it captures some of the pie of the ever-growing sport market?

Here are some suggestions:

  • Make travel across the Caribbean more reasonable and convenient
  • Upgrade venues to host traditional and non-traditional events
  • Maximise media rights arrangements
  • Train existing personnel and make efforts to attract the next generation to be a part of the industry
  • Tertiary-level institutions should do much more research into the prospects for the industry
  • Create a package of regional sporting ambassadors

The Caribbean has enough stars of its own, it can create applicable merchandise to supply the world as the events and venues are properly prepared and managed.

A recent cultural and creative industries study done by CISAC – the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers – is pleased to present the release of a new study published by EY titled “Cultural Times – The First Global Map of Cultural and Creative Industries”.

For the first time, this survey quantifies the global economic and social contribution of this important sector. The study analyses 11 Cultural and Creative Industries (CCI) sectors: advertising, architecture, books, gaming, movies, music, newspapers/magazines, performing arts, radio, television and visual arts. The top three employers are visual arts (6.73m), books (3.67m) and music (3.98m). While the study has not pointed to sport content in particular – we know sport is such a valuable component to all the areas mentioned.

Read the study when you have the time http://www.worldcreative.org/

The need to consolidate all the efforts is urgent and the Caribbean has to identify that its culture (sport too) is world recognised as one of the most known worldwide, but the figures don’t add up.

The call is for the region to pull all the resources and use the 2016 Olympic preparation platform to guide and provide a template for three to five years.

Team-Building

Posted in Caribbean, Cricket, Leadership, Management, Sport

CARICOM, Sport and Cricket

KINGSTON, November 7 – Much of what has been suggested by the CARICOM Committee on Cricket has already been put in Cricket operations and programmes by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) over the years. I have seen evidence of what former President, Julian Hunte instituted in his six years as head of that unit.

In 2009, Hunte disclosed that – contrary to popular belief – the Governance Review Committee report is being utilised. The Patterson Report, for example was commissioned by the WICB in 2007 to do a top-to-bottom review of the operations of West Indies cricket. But Hunte, the WICB president at the time said that the regional governing body had been, or was taking action on 47 of the 65 recommendations contained in the report, but there was only one with which the directors had extreme difficulty. Here is a news story which spoke of the issue at the time http://www.stabroeknews.com/2009/sports/08/11/%E2%80%98we%E2%80%99re-using-patterson-committee-report-says%E2%80%99-hunte/

The story went on to say too, that one recommendation which was not accepted in full was the proposal for the establishment for a new entity to be renamed and headed by a two-tiered body called a Cricket West Indies Council that would sit above the Cricket West Indies Board. That is still one of the main issues today, hence the call for the WICB to be dissolved.

Since then, Dave Cameron, President since 2013 has even accepted more of the recommendations from that Patterson report and has used up to 80 per cent of its recommendations but has opted not to add the additional layer as prescribed to turn the fortunes around of the WICB http://sundominica.com/articles/wicb-directors-to-discuss-governance-matters-at-an-2011/

This article clearly states the following:

  • The WICB has previously implemented over 80% of the recommendations of the Patterson Report and agreed to the majority of the Governance Committee report which was chaired by Charles Wilkin QC.
  • At a specially convened meeting of the members of the WICB in 2012, 10 of the 17 recommendations were agreed to. Specifically directors nominated by the Territorial Boards no longer represent the Territorial Boards at Annual General Meetings.
  • Further as generally recommended by the Patterson Report the WICB is about to conclude the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the six Professional Cricket League franchises. This follows the implementation of the PCL and the six franchises which are being independently and professionally administered through the Territorial Boards.

WICB Logo 1

The PCL now in its second year started on November 6 – you can catch live action here http://windiescricket.com/news/watch-live-pcl-r4day-round-1-day-2

The question is really, what has sparked this recommendation? This writer won’t make any assumptions, however, what I will point out to you are some inadequacies, inconsistencies and shoddy way in which CARICOM has treated sport in the last decade. Let me declare here too that I have been part of a team which helped to develop papers, spoken at meetings among other things on Sport and Sport Tourism and have been disappointed in the way the follow up has been handled. CARICOM no longer has a specific sport unit which is clear in my mind its lack of will to be an active participant in one of the fastest growing sectors in the world.

In 2008, CARICOM baulked on the idea of establishing a CARICOM Sports Commission, intended to outline ‘guidelines for member governments to place sport prominently in the matrix of regional development’ (Joseph, Keith. “Caricom Sports Commission an Urgent Necessity.” SVGOC. N.p., 13 Mar. 2008. Web. 2 July 2015.)  http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/topstory-Sports-Commentary%3A-CARICOM-needs-renewed-attention-to-sports-26794.html

Here is another major programme on which CARICOM planned to implement and the status of that is on record as being behind its schedule 
http://www.caricom.org/jsp/community_organs/regionalsurvey_sportsprogrammes.jsp?menu=cob

A Caribbean Journal article almost five years ago asked this question – Where is the Caribbean Regional Sport Academy for Sport that CARICOM had in its plans?

http://caribjournal.com/2011/07/25/caricom-plans-regional-sports-academy/#

How can CARICOM really help?

CARICOM should start by doing the following:

  • Diversifying its institutions/associate institutions to include one which has sport at its core functions
  • Adding back the sport unit to its functions
  • Implementing the sport programmes it still has in study forms
  • Re-call the committee of Iva Gloudon, Yolande Selman, Richie Rchardson, Peter Adrien, Keith Joseph and I to update the proposal we made and add a young entrepreneur, an academic and an athlete to that team and ensure that this is done
  • Re-engage the PE teachers group to see how the teaching of Physical Education has evolved
  • Facilitate programmes to measure the success of home-grown Caribbean athletes and how they stack up to the rest of the world; while ensuring the next generation has a real chance
  • Look at the sport of choice for the ages of 12 – 19 and facilitate development

You see folks the CARICOM Report on the Cricket is not just about the cricket it really should be about the worldwide US$648 million industry and how we as a people can transform the talent which exists to create wealth, have the best facilities and have sport be a part of the Caribbean Economy as an option.

CARICOM like the UWI need to evaluate how it functions in region of such diversity but maintaining the core of what makes us as a people successful. WICB, CONCACAF, NORCECA all report to their international bodies and any indication of political interference sparks controversy.

The recommendations could help to bolster any opportunity to attract more committed talent to all our sporting disciplines including cricket. Sir Garry Sobers said it best recently when he remarked that the sport of cricket needed more committed players, now there is a great place to start. The return on investment in cricket is high as it is one of the most popular sporting disciplines in the world. It is time for CHANGE.

Team-Building

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Caribbean, Cricket, Leadership, Management, Sport, Track and Field

Elite Centre Concept for the Caribbean

Warner Robins, August 25 – The Caribbean’s athletic prowess is once again on display as the athletes participate in the 15th World Championships in Track and Field in Beijing, China. Jamaica, the Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, Anguilla, Barbados have all gone into advance rounds and finals of a variety of events.

Usain Bolt’s defence of his 100 metres title created a BUZZ; Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce also had a successful defence of her 100 metres title; the 400 metres hurdles bronze medallist, Jeffrey Gibson from the Bahamas was exhilarating; O’Dayne Richards showed why the Commonwealth title was worth something in the men’s shot putt, copping a bronze medal…I could go on. The four Jamaicans in the 400 metres final and so many other stories are what are keeping the headlines changing day by day across track and field world.

The Caribbean is obviously a hot bed of talent and with football (soccer); cricket, basketball, swimming, baseball, netball as major sporting disciplines the islanders excel in, the region should find a way to unite to build, sustain and improve on its current showing. Not many developing regions have this quality talent along with other intangibles such as will power, grit, determination – what the region does have though to complement the talent is strong technical support. A major gap though is facilities and that is of great importance to an athlete’s development for any kind of competition on the world stage.

University of the West Indies and other Caribbean organisations

The UWI was built as a public educational institution which was to serve 18 English-speaking countries in the Caribbean to at the time unearth, unlock and develop economic growth through sectors of interest. The UWI has remained largely traditional in its output and has provided excellent scholars in those areas. But since 1948 when a few islands started participated in world sport at several levels including the Summer Olympic Games, the World Cup of Football and other well-known events, the UWI would have had enough time to consider developing work aimed at what was called the non-traditional sector – sports and culture.

The Caribbean has proven over the over in the last 30 years that its strength in the now more commonly called Creative Sector – has great potential for the region’s economic pursuits. The CARICOM, Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA) are two organisations that I am hoping along with the UWI can help the region in realising how those industries can be monetized for economic benefits.

In previous deliberations I have not been kind to CARICOM as I think they have ‘dropped the ball’ however with the region’s leadership changing hands and mind set, I am hoping for a positive turnaround. CEDA has stepped out of its comfort zone and has touched on the Creative Sector in an encouraging way. Here are some examples

Expansion of the Cultural and Creative Industries http://chamber.org.tt/articles/expansion-of-the-cultural-and-creative-industries/

JAMPRO teams with ITC, CEDA to push craft & textile http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/JAMPRO-teams-with-ITC–CEDA-to-push-regional-crafts–textiles_9255634

You can also glance through a few newsletters here http://www.creativeindustriesexchange.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=32&Itemid=100096

Heard a recent interview with Heads of Sport departments for some of Jamaica’s top tertiary institutions and it was inspiring for a number of reasons. The three organisations were UWI, Mona; University of Technology and GC Foster College. The men are all under 40; they mentioned some of the areas of interest to grow sport included facility development as a central argument. While exclaiming that the programme of continuity is on; they all thought that equally the next line of coaches are already in training and some are already working at the top/elite level.

The Collegiate Sport system is closes to what can bridge the gap at this stage. I did an article in 2011 and there is some relevance today http://carolebeckford.blogspot.com/2011/09/college-system-briding-gap.html

What really needs to happen?

The resources of the Caribbean can be shared as there are enough islands with the same goals of attaining World Championship participation and Olympic glory. The question we ask can each island maintain its current status in sport development or should some resources be shared?

Over the last two years or so, I have read some interesting Sport books – Phil Jackson’s 11 Rings: Secret of Success; John Calipiri’s – Coaching from the Inside Out and now Tim S. Grover’s – Relentless each of which showed that while each player had their own way of doing things; some of the professionals who offered them services were the same though. For example, so many NBA players have the same Psychologist, Trainer, Agent and even Publicist; but what remains is the individual mark of that athlete.

What would it take the shared-service concept to be used at the elite level with different sporting disciplines? Why wouldn’t Jason Holder, Julian Forte and Kelli-Ann Baptiste have the same trainer for example? Before you jump all over this article…let me help guide you.

Preparation here means early work, fitness, endurance, psychological and even lifestyle – this is what elite centres do. What this would do is integrate the roles so football players, track and field athletes, cricketers, netballers, swimmers in the same place before competition so there is interaction from early. There is some amount of evidence that elite centres work. In Australia for example they have 117. We would have seen how the Australian sport industry has flourished in recent years. There is even an association of sport centres and they are meeting in Puerto as I write http://sportperformancecentres.org/ there are best practices. Some countries that are members include Brazil, Canada and there are numerous centres worldwide.

The Caribbean seems set to overtake and surpass its previous years of dominance in some disciplines; however, like West Indies Cricket, while we were relaxing and enjoying the ride, others were watching and using our own strategies to beat us.

This article is pointing towards a recovery period for West Indies Cricket in the short, medium and long terms where if we take the shared-resources approach the improvement can be massive over sustained periods.

I am proposing within the next five years we try the following:

  • Have all elite Caribbean athletes across all disciplines meet for at least two weeks each year for preparatory work
  • Have their coaches interface at some levels too
  • Create an opportunity where applicable to have them coordinate on community development projects

This list is not limited to the three suggestions, but it is a start. Maybe I am being selfish as the premise of this recommendation is to benefit cricket directly, however, I guarantee with the kind of talent we have there can be merit to this approach. The concept of the Elite Sport Centre is not new and the Caribbean can benefit greatly.

I end with this quote from Relentless – “If you are a true competitor, you always feel pressure to attack and conquer, you thrive on it. You intentionally create situations to jack up the pressure even higher, challenging yourself to prove what you are capable of. Be a Cleaner – every moment is a pressure situation, everything is always on the line.” Tim S. Grover

Be RELENTLESS!

Posted in Branding, Caribbean, Cricket, Leadership, Management, Media, Sport

WI Cricket on a new path

KINGSTON, August 16 – The Caribbean is largely a group of islands that are developing countries. What this means is their economies are largely dependent on the sectors which can earn the fastest return on the investment. The Caribbean’s economic outlook as published by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has revealed that the islands that are tourism-dependent are the fastest growing. The global economic output expanded by an average of 3.3 per cent. However there were islands reporting growth of 4.2 per cent (St. Kitts & Nevis); 4.0 per cent (Turks and Caicos) and 3.8 per cent (Guyana). While those figures may not have any direct impact on what I am about to suggest, the Caribbean is and always will have the potential to grow.

http://www.caribank.org/uploads/2015/02/CDB-2014-Caribbean-Economic-Review-and-Outlook-for-2015.pdf

Caribbean tourism and the way it is viewed by tourists and those who manage has changed and once we admit that then we are off to a great start. Tourism is officially about the authentic experience of a destination – its people, food, attraction, history, culture, sport, night life and efficiencies. We have to move past the sun, sea and sand concept which has been overused. The sophisticated tourist of 2015 and beyond wants more.

Cricket as a focus for the Caribbean

Let me therefore get to the point,  I want to make… for the last 20 years, West Indies Cricket has not performed up to standard and outside of the shortened version of the game, the ranking has been less than favourable. What that suggests too is successive management and leadership teams have failed to put in place the environment to do a few things

  • Create and sustain an effective development programme
  • Attract the best Caribbean athletes to the game of cricket
  • Create an environment which should make more of our cricketers marketable and more attractive to brands worldwide
  • Attract partnerships to spur positive economic activity
  • Partner with the players association for more feasible programmes

All these and more made cricket unattractive to the discerning eye. During that time too, the media had a field day with the animosity that grew with several sections of the cricket fraternity. Very few of the stories though focused on how the failing image of cricket can be recovered. During that time too, the CARICOM committee on cricket forgot its role; secondary schools across the region paid less attention to teaching cricket as a subject in Physical Education; sponsors turned a blind eye and the small core of the fraternity maintained a stranglehold and pretty much did what they wanted to do.  Those years could be dubbed – the Broken Image of WI Cricket.

Here are some facts which I think can help you put WI cricket in context

  • Cricket is the second most viewed sport on television worldwide
  • There is a cricketer in the top 50 paid athletes in the world
  • Cricketers are among the top 100 athletes followed on Twitter/Facebook
  • West Indies Cricket is still among the most watched and up to five players from the current set up are among top cricket plays each month
  • Only recent was a cricket nominated for an ESPY award

Those facts make cricket even more attractive at the world-level. What of the West Indies? Fast forward to 2013 Summer when the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) was hosted for the first time and the region woke up to this spectacle. Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago are so far winners. Lots of questions are being asked about the economic potential or lack thereof of the CPL; which island is able to continue or not and with some of the other programmes worldwide accommodating less of our players, what will the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) do?

According to the developers, the Caribbean Premier League is a T20 tournament that showcases the beauty and talent of the Caribbean to the world. The best cricketers that the West Indies play alongside their international counterparts, in the unique carnival atmosphere for which the Caribbean is world-renowned. The CPL draws the attention of millions of cricket fans across the globe. That is the latest addition to the cricketing world from the Caribbean. Here is a fact though: The world still sees and ranks cricket based on Test and One Day International performance.

For more on the CPL go to http://cplt20.com/

Since the CPL, the WICB has developed the Professional Cricket League (PCL) – a four-day competition – for the last two seasons done the following

  • Assembled a bunch of professional players that can pay attention to just their game
  • Paid professional administrators at the territorial body level
  • Expanded the domestic season to, along with other tournaments, nine months
  • Presented more commercial assets for partnerships

With the PCL only starting last season, it is expected with support from the secondary schools system and the reorganisation of clubs in the region, the talent pool will not only grow in numbers but should expose the available talent.

Government has a role, but what…

Much has been suggested that the WICB has not listened to recommendations from reports etc, however, the real role of governments and other policy leaders should include

  • Ensuring that Physical Education remains a core subject at the secondary school level
    • Mandate that cricket be taught in schools so there is a path to growth
    • High school cricket>>>club cricket>>>regional cricket>>>>on the path to representing the WI
  • Provide incentives to clubs that perform at the top on and off the field
  • Encourage clubs to have foundations which serve to aid in continuity programmes
  • Facilitate the clubs to use cricket as a tool for social development and inclusion
  • Look at the academy model to re-engage youth at risk

The fact is, any country/region that has a top sporting team doing well will attract support from brands who desire the exposure and the Caribbean, being a hot bed of talent must refocus its attention on cricket, football and basketball as disciplines which worldwide attract the widest level of support including television rights which is among the top income earner. The political involvement from Government should be re-directed to development of programmes that encourages cricket to be taught in the classroom and nurtured at the secondary level.

The head of the players association has said the PCL is in its teething stages. Like in other jurisdictions where professionalization of sport is becoming more popular, participating for the first time in a professional set-up of that nature must help towards a successful programme in the medium to long term for the regional team. It has brought some success, but we know that for us to get what we really want out of this professional set-up we have to fix loopholes and keep improving the competition and the structure so we can produce outstanding cricketers and who play an outstanding brand of cricket for all to see and enjoy,” were some of the comments Wavell Hinds made.

Like in the other sporting disciplines, if the sport/subject is taught in organised formats, enhanced by age group competition at home and abroad, in three to five years, the national team will have much better options and with more effective and strategic coaching, can help push the WI team closer to the top.

While the legacy of the past is remarkable and should serve as inspiration to perform at the highest level, the current set up must represent its own generation with a bit of “history repeating itself” – WI must and should rise.

The decentralizing of the current system in the management of the WICB and its operations has placed the regional development squarely in the hands of the territorial boards. That same process empowers the territorial boards to act with goals in mind. The WICB has taken a consultative approach to the progressive move and with several rounds of interaction with the balanced-scorecard-approach; the path to growth is well on its way. The region has to buy in to that process. Even the town hall meetings form part of the consultation and a number of new measures have been put in place.

Governments therefore should create the enabling environment and allow the entrepreneurs and the business (private) sector to lead. The path to winning has to be declared…the time is now.