Friday, July 17, 2009

USA plans for Premier League of Cricket

The United States wants to commence a privileged Twenty20 cricket competition within two years along the lines of the money-spinning Indian Premier League featuring big-name players like England batsman Kevin Pietersen.

The USA Cricket Association hopes "top-class international cricket" will finally take root in the country by beginning the first skilled competition, the USA Premier League.

The first steps were taken on Thursday by fascinating suggestions from potential coordinator, sponsors and broadcasters in a country where American football and baseball are the main sports casted there.

The USACA wants to unlock the sport's prospective in a "massive market" and use the revenues from the new league to help stretch cricket across the U.S. and form a competitive international team.

"With the propagation of Twenty20 cricket to international level we feel an American spectators is more proficient at accepting that format rather than the longer more standard version of the game," USACA management secretary John Aaron told The Associated Press by telephone. "There is positively a solid fan base there for those who want to see world-class cricket without leaving the US on exclusive trips.

"We are trying to make the US a cricket intention for teams and players."
Aaron said the league will start "no later than 2011." Planning has already begun with leading sports broadcaster ESPN, which has channels in the U.S. and throughout the world.

It is owned by The Walt Disney Co. and the USACA expectation from Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, will help to catch the attention of cricket fans to the country's only international standard ground, which is in the state.

"We want to make it a family thing," Aaron said.The IPL has taken cricket-mad India by storm and engrossed top players from around the world, although the second edition of the six-week competition was moved to South Africa in April after organizers failed to obtain security approval.

The IPL's city franchises offer big paychecks to attract big-name Indian and foreign stars, paying England duo Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff record salaries of US$1.55 million each at the last player mart.

They are the same sort of players coveted by the USAPL.
"With the commercialization of the game there would be enough funds to attract some of the best players in the world," Aaron said.

Rushmans, an international sports event management company based in England, has been prearranged as commercial consultant.

"This course will enable us to consider all the proposals on the table and select the ideas and form the partnerships which are most advantageous to USACA, to the enlargement of cricket in the USA and to the partners themselves," commercial adviser Nigel Rushman said.

Organizers hope to build on the open ardor for cricket in expatriate communities from the Caribbean, the Asian subcontinent and other traditional cricket playing nations like England.

Rushman said the United States is the world's second biggest Internet cricket market, with the 2007 World Cup attracting 1.15 billion hits, just behind India.

"With the right associates, the USA can host a world-class Premier League which will fill grounds and attract massive television and online spectators," Rushman said.

"That is good news for the future of the sport in the USA and the growth of cricket worldwide."

Prospective partners, corporate sponsors, stratagem experts, broadcasters and merchandise retailers must make formal proposals by Aug. 7.

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