Twenty20 cricket is a global phenomenon amassing billions of dollars in revenues throughout the world (e.g. Indian Premier League, T20 Blast in the UK, the Caribbean Premier League, T20 Challenge in South Africa). Twenty20 cricket is not just about the cricket. It’s a spectacle of entertainment featuring flashes of colour, fireworks, dancers, giveaways, ‘free hits’, players sitting in the ‘dugout’ waiting to bat rather sitting in the change rooms, technological innovations (e.g. Spidercam, Zing bails, helmet cameras, FoxKopter), and sixes galore. It has “skyrocketing popularity”.
However, how did it start? Why is it an important feature in the calendar of countries? Why has it had such an impact? This module explores Twenty20 cricket as case study of the business of leisure.
The Twenty20 origin
Twenty20 cricket began in 2001 as the brainchild of Stuart Robertson (then Marketing Manager of the England and Wales Cricket Board). Mr Robertson has said that twenty-over cricket had been played as an after work activity for years before 2001. However, despite opposition from purists of the game of cricket, he took the concept and professionalised it.
The first official Twenty20 match was held in 2003. Freelance cricket photographer Phillip Brown, writing for ESPN Cricinfo, penned this piece on his experience of his first match during that season:
In the above blog post, Mr Brown wrote: “Covering the match for the Daily Telegraph, I thought these peripheral things on this historic evening were more important than a run-of-the-mill action shot from the game”.
Why do you think he might have said this?
What peripheral things was he talking about?
Innovation In Sport
Mr Robertson was a keynote speaker at Adido Limited’s Let's Do Digital Southern Summit 2015 – Here
His digital marketing presentation entitled: “Innovation in Sport: Changing the Establishment”, focused on “his unique experience in reinventing a traditional sport to suit modern customers' needs”.
Please watch the presentation below and take particular note of the drivers behind the establishment of Twenty20 cricket. An important driver in his claim is that cricket is part of the leisure industry fighting for the leisure pound.
Lets Do Digital| 17:15 mins
Slides to the presentation can be downloaded from here.
Former Australian cricket coach, John Buchanan, predicted in 2005 that Twenty20 would revolutionise cricket. It has definitely done that.
Twenty20 in India
Next is a TED talk [16:59 mins] by Harsha Bhogle called “The rise of cricket, the rise of India”. Mr Bhogle is an internationally-recognised cricket commentator and columnist, known as “the Voice of Indian Cricket”. This talk was presented at TEDIndia in 2009. It has a specific focus on the premier, and most lucrative, Twenty20 cricket competition globally – the Indian Premier league (IPL). He humourously discusses how a small change to cricket has made a revolution.
Please take particular note of the following:
The mixed economy of cricket – especially commercial investment and television coverage rights.
How India took the Twenty20 idea and become the model of the spectacle that it is now.
The links between Bollywood and the IPL.
Wow! The IPL has had a significant effect on India’s economy, profile, branding and culture. There are many stakeholders involved in the IPL. What are your thoughts on this video? Please take the time to write down responses to the following questions:
Jon Hotten penned an article for ESPN Cricinfo in February 2016 called “The World T20 Created” – This article claims that the IPL is worth US$7bn and that it was worth $170m to India’s GDP. It discusses Chris Gayle’s (one of the most sought after but controversial players in Twenty20 cricket) reaction to taking part in the first IPL auction: “Here was a man who earned, he (Gayle) said, US$1000 for playing an ODI for West Indies, now getting that for around a minute's batting in franchise cricket.”
Please now take the time to reflect on your own Twenty20 experience in light of the Indian context and the questions above. Do you think that Australia is experiencing something similar? If so, why? What might be the differences?
The Austadiums website documents attendance rates at major stadiums in Australia. An Analysis of Big Bash attendances (see here): Shows that attendances are growing. As an example, the Gabba (the Brisbane Cricket Ground in Woolloongabba) is the home ground of the Brisbane Heat: