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PROJECT USA INC.

ICC'S 4-YEAR PROGRAM FOR US CRICKET

[In March 2003, The ICC announced an ambitious new, stand-alone program for US Cricket which would be operated on a stand-alone basis. Since then, we have not heard too much about it. CRICINFO-USA is reprinting a story on the topic by the USCRICKET.COM Web site because the topic is believed to be of national importance. As soon as more details are known, we shall report them. -- DKD.]

“Project USA” is a detailed plan by the ICC to promote cricket in the United States over the next four years. It entails forming a new organization, based in the United States and funded by the ICC, which will be led by a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) who would be responsible for taking the sport of cricket to the next level in this country. The ICC has yet to appoint the CEO of this new organization. The search process is on to identify the appropriate candidate(s) for this position.

It is no secret that ICC’s President-elect, Ehsan Mani, would like to see team USA participate in the 2007 World Cup. If USA qualifies for the next World Cup, it would make ICC’s job a lot easier to commercialize the sport on US soil. The United States’ cricket players and cricket enthusiasts offer a tremendous opportunity to the governing body of the sport. More importantly, the possibility of hosting a few World Cup games in America becomes a more viable option with team USA playing in the next World Cup.

Since “Project USA” is an in depth analysis of cricket events and activities in the United States over the next four years, the ICC has given USACA the opportunity to review the plan .... Once all details are finalized, the final plan will be delivered to the public.

[The following report from Pakistan on ICC's plans for US cricket adds some interesting but unconfirmed information on "Project USA". Some points appear to conflict with what we have been told by inside sources, but we are reproducing the report unedited.)

By Waheed Khan -- http://www.jang-group.com/thenews/apr2003-daily/01-04-2003/sports/s2.htm

KARACHI: The International Cricket Council (ICC) will spend around $9 million dollars on 'Project USA' an ambitious attempt to tap into and develop the viable market for cricket in the United States.

'The News' has learnt that a high powered ICC delegation including President Malcolm Gray, Chief Executive Malcolm Speed, President designate Ehsan Mani and chief financial officer Faisal Hasnain will be visiting the States at the end of April to start the practical implementation of "Project USA" from June, 2003.

The ICC as part of its ambitious project has already decided to have up to five matches of the 2007 World Cup in the United States and will from this year start holding annual triangular one-day international tournaments there.

West Indies has been allocated the 2007 World Cup.

"The ICC plans to have four international tournaments in the States in the lead-up to the World Cup with Pakistan playing in the 2006 event along with the West Indies, Australia and hosts USA," a source close to the ICC said.

"This year India, West Indies and England are pencilled in for the triangular series, while in 2004 West Indies, Australia and South Africa will be there and in 2005 India, West Indies and Sri Lanka," he disclosed.

According to him, the ICC had already worked out the estimated total costs of staging these four tournaments and revenues to be generated from them.

"The feedback they have given to the USA cricket association is that approximately $22 million dollars would be earned from holding the four tournaments including the television rights sales.

"The costs would be around $12 million on all four events while around $9 million would be diverted to the USA cricket association for widespread development and promotion of the game before the World Cup," he confided.

"The ICC is hoping to earn the major chunk of revenues from sale of television rights which is why they have pencilled in India in two events.

"The homework done by them shows that if India plays they earn around $4 to 5 million from sale of television rights for one tournament with an estimated $500,000 every day. But without India the television rights sell for around $350,000 per day," the source stated.

The source said that the ICC has already advised the US cricket association that it should start negotiating with the major soccer and baseball stadiums in the States for use for holding international cricket matches.

He explained that in the States the soccer and baseball stadiums were equipped with floodlights and all other allied facilities to accommodate around 60 to 75,000 spectators and instead of building new stadiums for the holding of the triangular series or World Cup matches, it would be more economical and beneficial if the US cricket association signed deals with the concerned stadiums.

"This concept will work on the basis of the ICC and the host association importing atleast eight drop turf pitches from Australia and New Zealand which would be placed for the tournaments and then stored in greenhouses during the off-season."

But the source said the ICC had also encouraged the US association to start building one or two proper cricket stadiums and develop smaller grounds for league cricket for future use.

"The ICC has even envisaged under its project that the US cricket association have some seven to eight overseas players to play in their league and also act as regional development officers in the States. The best part is that the ICC has developed new eligibility rules under which two of these overseas players will be described "deemed nationals" and would be able to represent America in international matches.

The source said that the ICC was very keen to have the United States playing in the 2007 World Cup.

However, the spanner in the works for the ICC is likely to come from the Indian cricket chief Jagmohan Dalmiya who is not keen to allow the sitting President and chief executive the credit for launching "Project USA".

"Dalmiya has indirectly conveyed to the USA cricket officials that if they want the cooperation of India in the future to develop the sport in their country they would first talk to him before allowing the ICC to negotiate television right sales for the international tournaments," the source confided.

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Date-stamped :31 Mar 2001 - 20:52 [an error occurred while processing this directive]