Gordon confident of hitting World Cup tickets target By Waheed Khan
Guyana Chronicle
December 12, 2006

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LAHORE, Pakistan (Reuters) - The Chairman of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) is confident of meeting a target of US$40 million in overall ticket sales for the 2007 World Cup, which begins next March in Jamaica.

Ken Gordon, who also heads the nine local organising committees preparing for the event, said yesterday that over 50 percent of the overall target had already been met in the first two phases of sales.

"The first phase was about packages and went very well as there is a great deal of interest in the world for the tournament," he told Reuters.

"The second phase which is meant for sales in the Caribbean is under way. The overall sales have been going reasonably well," he stated.

Gordon said the third phase, when tickets would be on general sale, would start in January and the organising committee was confident it would help meet revenue targets.

"We have projected earning of $40 million keeping in mind the overall capacity of the stadiums to be used in the World Cup," Gordon said.

Gordon, in Pakistan on a private visit on the invitation of the Pakistan Cricket Board, conceded that the weakness was from the Caribbean sales.

"In the second phase the Caribbean people had the opportunity to buy tickets and with their deadline this month we are hopeful the demand will increase as the team has also been performing well in one-day cricket this year," he said.

The West Indies host the March 13-April 28 tournament for the first time and have not won the title since 1979.

The tournament contested by the largest number of teams in World Cup history (16) will be held at Jamaica, St Kitts, St Lucia, Trinidad, Guyana, Grenada and Barbados.

About the reservations by other Test-playing nations over the huge logistics involved in hosting the tournament in several different independent islands and worries over some grounds not being completed on time, Gordon said they were issues being worked out.

"They are a few things we are looking into. But we have built nine new stadiums and relaid pitches for the tournament. So it is always going to be a huge task," he added.

Gordon saw the World Cup as the culmination of the current transition process in West Indies cricket.

"West Indies cricket is already in a rebuilding phase and we see the World Cup as an event that will help us turn things around financially and also our cricket base," he said.

Gordon also assured top class security arrangements for the tournament as the organisers were expecting thousands of visitors to the different islands.

"We have formed a special committee of the best security people in the Caribbean. And it is getting the best advice from people in the business. We are sure it will be a widely watched and successful tournament.