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Marketing Horror


(This article was first published in HoldingWilley in March. We figured it might be a good idea to republish it now because in the melee of the ICC's World Cup's faults and flaws that  everyone is pointing out, this could be the biggest correction needed if Cricket to grow globally)

Not surprisingly, my family back in the U.S. tells me that the tragic murder of Pakistani coach Bob Woolmer has been in the headlines.  This must be a shocking revelation for the average American.  I don't mean to make light of a tragedy, but the shocking revelation is not the murder - the U.S. is the world's #1 producer of crime-related TV series.

So, while we're not devoid of empathy, we're preconditioned to view such an event more as a mystery than a tragedy.  The shocking revelation is that there's a World Cup for cricket!

 It's telling that the ICC's best marketing in the U.S. is the most tragic security failure in the history of international cricket. If you think the Indian and Pakistani teams blew big opportunities with this world cup, they've got nothing on the ICC.  When an event is called a "world" anything, one should make it a marketing showpiece for the whole world.  Instead, there's a worldwide event just a short boat ride away, and it took a tragedy for anyone to notice it.  Why?  Because the ICC views the World Cup as just another opportunity to extract money from expatriates from cricket-loving countries. 

It's not just the U.S., either. Here in France I have been unable to receive any live coverage of any kind for any match in this World Cup. Yesterday I went into Paris to two different English pubs to try and watch a match (I would have been happy to see either of yesterday's matches), but since Scotland, Wales and Ireland were all playing soccer I had no luck.  Even among most English people, cricket is a second-tier sport.  What a coincidence! If you treat people as cash cows, many of them will turn away from whatever you're selling. It doesn't matter that cricket is a wonderful, unpredictable, quirky and unique sports experience if it's treated like a buried treasure. 

So now if India is eliminated along with Pakistan, this tournament will lose most of the fans who care about the outcome, with a month still left to go. Those who watch for love of the sport rather than partisan reasons will eventually recognize that it's a more interesting tournament with these kinds of surprise upset victories, and they'll come back to watch the exciting conclusion. 

And I'll eventually get the DVD of the event so I can finally watch it.  But the fact that the ICC would rather sell me a DVD than make it easy for even the uninitiated to watch is a huge mistake.   


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