International cricket allocation in England

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International cricket allocation in England

Postby Making_Splinters » Sun May 05, 2013 6:47 pm

With Durham handing back their rights to host an ODI against India next year, a T20 against Australia the year afterwards and their struggles to sell out an Ashes test it is time for the ECBs policy of forcing Counties to bid for International cricket to be reviewed.

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While I am well aware that I am opening myself up to acquisitions of bias, if we’re honest there are only a limited number of grounds in this country which can actually accommodate high profile international cricket and it is high time we began to structure the international cricket setup around those counties which have the facilities to support it.


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The most important point to consider in the call to arms for change is; who does the current system actually benefit?

Is it the fans who are subjected to ludicrous prices as a direct result of counties being forced to turn a profit on their bids? No. Is it the counties who are forced to make highly speculative bids and engage in highly speculative redevelopments to ensure they have the capacity for non-guaranteed cricket? No. So what mysterious part benefits from this? The ECB through generating revenue from a service they are obligated to provide anyway – the phrase shitting on one’s doorstep springs to mind!

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Irritatingly the ECB already use a far superior model for dealing with international cricket in a different area: Centrally contracting players. There should be a set of Counties who are designate as international venues and provided centralised funding for redevelopment as and when needed; this would reduce the uncertainty on counties as to the future of their funding and in turn reduce the impact on the paying punter’s wallet. Profits from international cricket could be equally distributed amongst the counties reducing the wealth imbalance across county cricket and allow for an increasingly competitive league.

A small rant, that is all.
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Re: International cricket allocation in England

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Sun May 05, 2013 7:28 pm

Good article Splinters. Could it be that there is some law involved in putting the contract out to open competition? Probably not, because Lord's and The Oval will get matches come what may.

Is it evangelical, in that the ECB feel the need to take the game around the whole of England and Wales? Possibly, but don't they take the biggest bid wherever it is from?

Is it ideological, that the former corporation bosses who run the ECB feel that this fits with their familiar business models? Maybe, they were happy for public money to buy games for Wales, but money is green, wherever it comes from. Surely this is their motivation? They are comfortable working this way, it validates the kind of background they come from, and it allows others to take the risk. This might not be the best thing for them to do as guardians of the English game, but I expect they would look at that kind of thinking as being sentimental and old fashioned.

I would like the traditional six Test venues, plus Durham and a south west ground, to share the Tests on the basis of how many people they can attract to the games. All would get games, but the more tickets you sell, the more games you get. This would encourage grounds to sell tickets at a sensible price. And it would allow grounds to attract rewards based on how well they run the games. It allows the Tests to keep the classic status of being played at the legendary grounds, which means something to fans, I suspect.

ODIs can be spread around the counties, partly based on how popular the tourists are likely to be, but satisfying the evangelical urge. We remember how well the T20 at Bristol went down in 2005. I don't think Bristol is a big international style ground? Why not take T20s especially around all the grounds?

I admit I (obviously) know nothing about business! And am happy to be told so. But to me the financial risks undertaken by the counties are unhealthy and unnecessary. This isn't really a market, they are just imposing a market (unevenly) on the grounds. A more co-operative method might actually be a lot less wasteful.
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Re: International cricket allocation in England

Postby SaintPowelly » Sun May 05, 2013 7:33 pm

The Oval and Lords are guaranteed test matches, which says all you need to know. Whatever suits the fatcats will happen, not the public.
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Re: International cricket allocation in England

Postby SaintPowelly » Sun May 05, 2013 7:42 pm

TO add to that, there is no incentive for the Derbyshires, Gloucestershires etc, to improve their grounds, because hosting 1 ODI every other year isn't financially viable.

Hants and Durham are in all kinds of debt because of upgrading ( attempting to ) to test match standard stadiums without getting a real look in.
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Re: International cricket allocation in England

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Sun May 05, 2013 7:45 pm

Fair enough with Lord's because they attract big crowds, and are ambitious with ground development plans. London is a natural place to hold Tests. It makes more sense for Tests to be held there than Southampton (sorry!). I don't think they should automatically get games, but based on how many see games in London, I'm sure they would get plenty of Tests anyway. I don't see why all touring sides should be guaranteed a Lord's Test, by the way. In a two Test series it is too limiting to say that only one match can ever be played away from HQ.
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Re: International cricket allocation in England

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Sun May 05, 2013 7:50 pm

SaintPowelly wrote:TO add to that, there is no incentive for the Derbyshires, Gloucestershires etc, to improve their grounds, because hosting 1 ODI every other year isn't financially viable.

Hants and Durham are in all kinds of debt because of upgrading ( attempting to ) to test match standard stadiums without getting a real look in.


As long as the ground is safe, they can still host appropriate games. Look at the sort of dump that hosted prestigious international games at Old Trafford for many years. (Going back, Leeds and Nottingham too.) Bristol has hosted ODIs. Improvement can gradually be carried out to improve the grounds for the benefit of their communities and the counties. It doesn't have to be all about 'attracting' big international games. That's what I was trying to argue against.

I think Derbys are developing their ground anyway, but not to attract internationals. Difficult for them with TB so near.
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Re: International cricket allocation in England

Postby Making_Splinters » Sun May 05, 2013 7:56 pm

From my point of view allocation should be run exactly the same way central contracts are run: You have an elite group of counties who are given a contract of ten years with a guarantee of hosting test cricket. For arguments sake let’s say; OT (Bias alert!), Headingly, Edgbaston, Trent Bridge, The Oval, Lord’s and Cardiff. You have a second group who are guaranteed hosting one day cricket say; Chester-lee-Street, The Rose Bowl and Bristol and that’s that.

Keeping an international ground up to speck is not cheap and that cost is passed directly to the punter; centralise investment, distribute profits and lower prices.

It should be bloody obvious something's wrong when major grounds such as Headingly simply don't bother bidding for matches and counties such as Durham are handing them back.
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Re: International cricket allocation in England

Postby SaintPowelly » Sun May 05, 2013 8:06 pm

There is next to no money to be made from County cricket though, teams need internationals BEFORE they can make slight changes to grounds.

The teams like Hampshire who want international games and make the effort, not only get barely any games, but MASSIVE debt.
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Re: International cricket allocation in England

Postby Making_Splinters » Sun May 05, 2013 8:10 pm

Exactly why I want the entire bidding process done away with, Saint!

Decide and classify, allow for targeted investment on the basis of knowing you'll have international cricket for the next 10 years.
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Re: International cricket allocation in England

Postby Arthur Crabtree » Sun May 05, 2013 8:15 pm

Maybe they'll see clubs failing as a sign competition is working.

I might think that there's more to planning a tour than rewarding the rich clubs. But that kind of thinking is probably anathema to the ECB. If you believe that competition leads to opportunity in which business will inevitable fill the gaps, then there is nothing to worry about. For corporations, this kind of thinking is an act of faith. I imagine ideas like custodianship are seen as old fashioned.

I think I agree with both of you. But I imagine the ECB would see these sorts of views as being quaint and naive.
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Re: International cricket allocation in England

Postby Making_Splinters » Sun May 05, 2013 8:28 pm

While it definitely offend their free market sensibilities Arthur I do truly believe haaving a concentrated number of world class venues and allowing other counties to focus their development on what best suits them would benefit the game in this country.
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Re: International cricket allocation in England

Postby braveneutral » Mon May 06, 2013 1:25 am

I don't have a problem at all with putting it out to tender (no cost involved) whether it be an A and B group or a simple International classification for a pre-determined number of grounds. Any county can bid and say gets a license for a certain number of years given that they meet the criteria. Even specify Lord's as having some special guarantee if you must.

The problem comes I think in this model when, for example money is being taken from the central pot and given to international grounds to develop and maintain international standard when non-international grounds would need to foot the costs themselves.

Even if one or two of the lower level international grounds were to be named as the Home of the Lions, it might boost crowds for their matches.
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Re: International cricket allocation in England

Postby Making_Splinters » Mon May 06, 2013 1:23 pm

braveneutral wrote:I don't have a problem at all with putting it out to tender (no cost involved) whether it be an A and B group or a simple International classification for a pre-determined number of grounds. Any county can bid and say gets a license for a certain number of years given that they meet the criteria. Even specify Lord's as having some special guarantee if you must.

The problem comes I think in this model when, for example money is being taken from the central pot and given to international grounds to develop and maintain international standard when non-international grounds would need to foot the costs themselves.

Even if one or two of the lower level international grounds were to be named as the Home of the Lions, it might boost crowds for their matches.


To be honest there should be a centralised pot for all counties to redevelop their ground; there simply isn't the money in county cricket to keep venues up to scratch.

Having modern facilities across the country can only benefit the game.
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Re: International cricket allocation in England

Postby braveneutral » Mon May 06, 2013 1:26 pm

I agree that missing money is the problem - you need x amount of money to maintain decent grounds and have a good level of competitiveness in the league but with only y money in the game then something needs to give.

Will the precipice moment come? The sacrificing of the county game as we know it?
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I suppose.

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Re: International cricket allocation in England

Postby SaintPowelly » Fri Jun 07, 2013 8:18 pm

What I don't quite understand is, Lords hosted a test vs NZ and also have an Ashes test, some will say thats fair enough.

But why the hell did they have an ODI too ??
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