Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Women's Cricket Needs To Beak Its Cycle Of Poverty

Isabelle Duncan has written a lengthy piece for All Out Cricket chronicling the barely-professional state of the women's game.

Responding to the retirement of Holly Colvin, Duncan writes:
I implore the powers that be to balance the scales [vis-a-vis the men's game] and give these talented women a decent wage with security and peace of mind for the future.
Although I think Duncan's heart is in the right place, I think this is somewhat missing the point - we shouldn't be imploring the ECB for charitable handouts; we should be looking for ways to build a sport that is actually self-sustaining from a commercial perspective.

This is where I think the ECB are getting things spectacularly wrong with their focus on participation.

Participation is a laudable goal, for sure, and is important to the long-term success of the England team; but unless we marry this with a business strategy, we are never going to move on and break our current cycle of poverty. Because, in short, participation doesn't pay the bills!

There are at least two far more business-like approaches currently being attempted.

In South Africa the women's national game has gone 'all in' with a big sponsor - Momentum - who are working hand-in-hand with them over the long-term to build a commercially successful sport.

Meanwhile in Australia they've made a fantastic effort to commercialize and market not just the "Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars" but the domestic WNCL competitions too, with sponsors being brought on board on a team-by-team basis, paying not only player's expenses, but a small match fee on top; plus cool 'white ball' uniforms which fans will want to buy and wear.

This is how you build a game which can give the top players the rewards we all want them to have; not by begging for charity from the men's game, while we don't even have a sponsor for our county championship.

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