Bumper returns for WICB

Stabroek News
May 2, 2001

Despite West Indies recent poor performances overseas, crowds have flocked the venues for the just concluded Test series against South Africa leaving the West Indies Cricket Board with healthy financial returns.

According to a press release from the WICB, the gate reciepts for South Africa's first full tour of the region looks set to break set new records after the five test matches and one of seven One Day Internationals so far.

Preliminary figures for the recently concluded Cable & Wireless Test series indicate that gate receipts of US$1.6 million are second only to those of the 1999 tour by Australia (US$1.8m) and have exceeded those of the 1998 England tour (US$1.4m).

"Attendance for the Test series has been superb with over 134 332 tickets sold for the Test Series which in fact surpasses the Australia tour in 1999 and is second only to the England Tour in 1998.

"Given the strong returns for the Test series and the bumper turn-out for the 1st One-Day International in Jamaica, we expect that the Test and One-Day International totals combined will break the home-series record set during the 1999 Australia series," said WICB marketing manager events, promotions, Darren Millien.

The WICB's Chief Marketing Executive Chris Dehring put the results, so far, in perspective.

"The growth in attendance at international and domestic cricket over the last four years shows there is still tremendous support for West Indies cricket. That it has coincided with the inconsistent performances on the field by the team demonstrates what a well-supported institution it really is and its importance to the people of the region."

The marketing official noted that the growing attendance was consistent with the growth being experienced in other areas of WICB commercial activity, underlining the improving financial and corporate strength of West Indies cricket.

"We now have more sponsors, paying more in rights fees than ever. These include a new and larger deal with Cable & Wireless, Busta, Red Stripe, Pepsi, Scotiabank, Suzuki and Shell.

"Television audiences for the annual Test & One-Day series grew 21% between 1995 and 1999, from 57% of the Caribbean television audience to 69%. Television revenues are also on the rise. With the exception of the Zimbabwe/Pakistan tour in 2000 and the current South Africa tour, where the economically poor television markets in these countries limit sales, television revenues for the next six years are very robust.

"The recently-concluded deal with Sky, (valued at US$40 million) which takes effect in 2004, is the largest television rights sale ever in the Caribbean and corroborates the underlying popularity of West Indies cricket," said Dehring.