Recently a letter to the International Cricket Council (ICC) from Lauderhill’s Mayor Kaplan had the ‘cricket community’ in an agitated state,concerned they would ‘lose’ the Stadium. The Mayor expressed his worry (among other things) over the economic position of a facilty that his community had invested in.
A rumor grew that the Stadium was going to be converted to “other uses” as a result of a business plan & report commissioned by Broward County. This was deja vu.
Back in March 2009 when the first American College Cricket Spring Break Championship was staged on the side fields of the CBRP it brought the NY Times & much needed attention to a facility that was being called a ‘white elephant’ as support from the rest of the ‘cricket community’ was largely absent. In 2010 there was an effort to turn the Stadium into a track & field venue.
That same year, & the next, American College Cricket again highlighted the Stadium on its worldwide webstream of the National Championship. Then in 2012 & 2013 American College Cricket & TV Asia put the Stadium on TV across USA & Canada. Thousands of college students meanwhile have come to regard the Stadium as a ”Lords”, & dream of visiting & playing there. With roots, family & friends in countries like India, the name of the Stadium has spread even further worldwide.
Other entities became motivated to use the Stadium, & side fields for cricket & eventually international matches were staged. American College Cricket had helped shift the pendulum into the positive. As a result American College Cricket President Lloyd Jodah was one of the people consulted by the consulting firms, PROS and TSE Consulting about the future of the Stadium. PROS recently presented its 80 page Report ( hereinafter referred to as “The Report” ) which we examined.
The Report identifies lots of opportunities to have more cricket activities, dependent on partnering with the relevant cricket organisations, International & American, like: – use by English county cricket players during English winter for training.- training for USA players — cricket camps & clinics and hosting of the American College Cricket South East Regional Championship (in addition to the Nationals which are staged there each year).
Other non-cricket opportunities are highlighted in : soccer , International Health Fair, Cultural events ,Meetings & Public Gatherings & more.
The Report emphasizes : “Clearly, the stadium within the Central Broward Regional Park as presently designed is best-suited to cricket, with design limitations for other athletic or cultural events. However, it is essential for financial success to have multiple uses, while still protecting the integrity of cricket play.
It is well understood that the stadium is the only venue certified by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in the United States. With this special distinction comes a high level of prestige and, at the same time, obligation based upon expectations. To this point, the stadium has not lived up to its promise, due to the expectations of its use for high level cricket matches.”
The report talks of the roles that USACA & the ICC could play in the Stadium without harping on their past failures.
Surprisingly to us, it said the Park was “designed to serve seven Broward County municipalities: Lauderhill, Fort Lauderdale, Lauderdale Lakes, Oakland Park, Plantation, Sunrise, and Wilton Manors.” However few outside of the Lauderhill area, seem to know of it. Clearly marketing of the Stadium and/or the park has been lacking, locally and nationally. In fact without American College Cricket the Park would have had no national & international publicity, prior to the 2 sets of International matches.
The priceless value of the national & worldwide publicity for the Stadium, Broward County and Lauderhill by American College Cricket, and the local economic benefit provided by the players and Championship did not appear to be acknowledged by Mayor Kaplan. However the Report names American College Cricket as an organisation that Broward County, and the Park, should “continue to partner with” and “considerable emphasis should be placed on”.
The report recognises what American College Cricket has been saying since 2009 “national, regional, and local cricket organizations and associations must be good partners with CBRP for the Sports Complex to reach its full potential of utilization and revenue.”
Multi-use can bring desired revenue the Report recognizes but: “Careful attention to the selection of such events is paramount, because some events cause greater “wear and tear” on the integrity and quality of the cricket pitch needs to be maintained.”
A couple of examples of projects suggested to involve the local community & tie them to cricket: - Countdown clock at the complex for the next ICC World Cup in 2015; – Cricket Fan Festival, including public viewing and festival to be organized during important international matches (so that CBRP is the “second best place to be”)
There are plans to shift the cricket pitch about 15 feet north, to make enough room for soccer to be played in the Stadium without infringing on the hallowed pitch surface. This will also give the Stadium the opportunity to make a better pitch, as the current one has received its share of criticism (for the ball keeping low etc).
Many of the other recommendations made will probably not happen, because of limitations of funding & other reasons but some changes are already taking place. Some, like use of the Hall in main building for parties etc should have already been happening.
The Report reasoned that there should be a different fee structure so large international sports organisations like the ICC would pay more than a local much smaller entity. Back in 2009, prior to reserving the Stadium for 2010 American College Cricket had questioned the level of the fee, which was then fortunately lowered and enabled the young organisation to use the Stadium for multiple days.
To summarise, Income for the CBRP has been well below Expenses each year for the CBRP and the Report explores and recommends many ways of raising Income, whilst recognizing and preserving the Stadium as the premiere cricket facility in the USA & Canada.
The communities, local & cricket, must do its part, by using and supporting the Stadium for cricket matches, community activities, meetings, parties etc. American College Cricket will hold its 6th National Championship at the Stadium March 12 through March 16th. The Semis & Finals matches will be televised again on TV Asia all over USA & Canada (like they were in 2012 & 2013 with a 12 cameras HD production).
Lloyd Jodah said, “I’m pleased the Report confirms what I’ve felt for years.. American College Cricket will continue to be the backbone of support for the Stadium that we have been since March 2009, and enhance that with TV Asia and our sponsors like Coca Cola & Dish Network.”