Monday, April 17, 2006

World Cup 2007

Cricket glorious cricket!

Yep, next year is the Cricket World Cup, the big battle for one-day supremacy and bragging rights by all of the world's top cricket playing nations. Alas that I should even risk a thought that my favorite West Indies squad had a chance at winning but then again miracles do happen.

Image hosting by PhotobucketAnyway the World Cup, like all sporting world cups it appears, is cycled among the nations that play the sport and 2007 just happens to be the year when its being hosted by the Caribbean. World cup cricket in the islands man, it gets no better than that if you are a cricket fan like I am.

Its great since it may give me a chance to go down and get to watch an actual World Cup match live in one of our famous cricket grounds. That's probably a once in a lifetime thing as far as I'm concerned cause most of the big cricket playing nations are on the other side of the world and I man would need some serious big money to even get across to India or Pakistan or New Zealand plus look for tickets and accommodations and the like so there goes jr's college fund before it even get started.....and that just doesn't work for me.

Not that going to the world cup in my own backyard will be cheap but hey I figure at least a man can beg a lodging from one of me bredren.

Still as the Caribbean nations furiously prepare for the World Cup, attempting to beat deadlines by upgrading infrastructure and retrofitting stadiums to bring them into the new millennium some worrying thoughts cross my mind.

Image hosting by PhotobucketNope not the thoughts that the Windies team is still terrible and its going to be a shame to watch us handed our butts at home by all and sundry. No I'm thinking about the costs of this World Cup endeavor and apparently so are some others.

Can the Caribbean afford to host this World Cup? I mean yea the politicians and the spokesmen for the parties involved in the planning of the event have all put very positive spins on the return in investment from the expenditure outlayed but anyone who has followed big sporting events knows that, even in the case of developed countries, large sporting events have left host countries with big budget overruns, large monetary deficits and white elephant structures (think Olympic stadium in Montreal).

Can poor third world countries like Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana, St Vincent and the like afford to invest money into this event and then take losses?

Ok yea don't get me wrong, its quite the privilege to host the event, and one should put one's best foot forward no question about that, but at the end of the day you cant really eat the prestige and good will you garner can you? Aren't there better ways to spend those funds earmarked for the world cup preparation? Wouldn't the millions of dollars going into World Cup preparation be better spent on other projects in the Caribbean countries? Education, Health care, projects to help the poor, those sorts of things. Its a question I often ponder.

The islands are operating under the umbrella of this logic that the press coverage garnered from the World Cup is priceless and will bring new short and long term benefits to our nations. Apparently amongst other things the publicity that is gained from this event will result in a fresh tsunami like deluge of new tourists to the Caribbean after the actual event is finished. I find that logic to be somewhat faulty.

Why? Ok let me explain my counter logic. I don't dispute that with the World Cup of cricket you will get millions of viewers all over the world tuning in to the event. That's a fact. The specifics are though that although you will have large numbers, the viewership will be highly localized in a few countries: Britain, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the entire subcontinent, North America, the Caribbean and a sprinkling of viewers possibly from a few European, African and Middle Eastern countries. Its a far cry from the really widespread coverage of the soccer world cup where basically people on every continent, in almost every country in the world, actually watch the games because well its indisputable that soccer is a more widely played game than cricket around the world and there is more interest in the outcomes of those games.

Image hosting by PhotobucketOk so we have high viewership for the cricket World Cup but localized. Now not only is the viewership localized but if you plot those countries on the globe you realize that most of them are in the Eastern hemisphere while the Caribbean is in the west. In fact only North America, England and the Caribbean of the countries I've listed are in the west.

Not only in terms of countries listed is the viewership skewered to the east but also in terms of population as I'm sure most of the viewership will originate in the subcontinent which has millions if not billions of people, most die hard cricket fanatics.

What does that tell me? Well it tells me that we are targeting for tourism purposes countries in the west, in North America and England, where our islands are already well known, already have decent press coverage and we probably wont see a really significant upswing in visitors from those places. Then we are also targeting countries in the east where we are likely to get diddly squat in terms of tourist output.

You really think that we will see significant tourist numbers coming from the east? You think people going to leave New Delhi, Lahore or Colombo to fly thousands of miles to the Caribbean to hold a sea bath? You think the same thing will happen with people from New Zealand, Australia and South Africa?

Realistically first off its too expensive to fly that far to the Caribbean for the average vacationer and secondly those guys have sea and sun options closer to home. Why waste a whole day or more flying to Jamaica from New Zealand to spend a week and end up with jetlag that will take 5 days to disappear when you could more easily go to Borneo, Indonesia, Malaysia or someplace close by with the same sea and sun we promoting?

Come on now!

So yea millions might watch but I believe very few will jump on a plane and say they are coming down to Barbados because they just really must savor some flying fish and cou-cou or see the Animal Flower Cave. Its not going to happen.

Maybe during the world cup we'll get a significant increase in numbers from those countries as fans come over to support their teams but after the games are over and the hoopla has died down I don't believe there will be significant impact on tourist numbers.

So then the question is does the expenditure justify the return in investment from a few extra tourists during the world cup event? And while we're at it is tourism such a great industry to invest in with the state of the airline industry and the security issues facing those flying these days?

We are borrowing money to invest in this world cup putting local Caribbean citizens in more debt for some pie in the sky expected long term gains mainly based on increased tourism. I mean even countries that only received warm up games spending big money renovation and refurbishing stadiums that will only get used twice or three times a year.

How much debt are Caribbean countries putting ourselves in for these games and who will be the persons to actually feel that debt burden?

Ok yea the high rollers will say you got to bet big to win big but at the same time I think the odds don't justify the big bet. In fact I feel that I would put money on the West Indies team to win the World Cup before I bet that the Caribbean islands will make a profit or see significant returns from this world cup and the money they spending.

24 comments:

Abeni said...

Far too much money is being spent.When SVG can be spending upwards of 57 million for just warm up games then something is wrong.Currently,the roads are a minefield and not even 1 million can be spared to fix the holes? Lemme not even mention the schools.We all will be left holding some huge debts

Stunner said...

The Jamaican gov. is all in a buzz about the cricket worldcup. They are even planning to renovate some of the attractions in the island. They are hopin to make to doe out of it.

BajanQueen said...

It's all about the money.

The kind of dollars spent makes you wonder how we have starving people in this world!!

I hope you had a good Easter.

~Smooches~

Miz JJ said...

When you have children who can't afford school fees you should not be renovating any blasted cricket parks. Chupse.

Amadeo said...

I once heard that former cricket players have the highest rate of suicide...that's all I know about cricket...except when english dudes say, "That's not cricket."

Dr. D. said...

FOOTBAAALL !!! ;-)

4panist said...

so after all that chat, are you going to try and go?

tianne_x said...

here in Bim every bit of expenditure.......every single activity is being done "for World Cup Cricket"........millions and millions of dollars spent....to me its obvious that it is gonna be used as a scapegoat...gov't and many private firms are using it as an excuse to indulge in exhorbitant spending....yes there is the possibility of some good....we should expect some sort of return from some of the investments being made...but will the returns be as substantial as they are making the public believe i doubt.....i also wonder what will become of the many foreign companies who will "come in an set up shop" will they stick around after they capitalize on the money to be made from world cup? will it be a long term investment with benefits for the country as a whole...i hope so hopefully there will be no serious capital flight....hopefully the money made will be reinvested within the country and not sent abroad...as for tourism.....i see the good in increasing the capacity of visitors we can handle...the boost in hotel rooms etc.....but as Jdid said will there be a significant longrun upswing in tourist arrivals? maybe to some extent but as substantial as the officials are making it out to be? i'm not that convinced....there are many questions that can be asked....but very few good answers....countries like Barbados with heavy balance of payment deficits.....too many imports in comparison to exports...should be very wary of this heavy spending...do the costs outweigh the benefits...or is the situation being made worse.....this scenario can be mirrored for all the other caribbean islands as well......i'm trying not to be pessimistic but we all need to look at the reality

~b*b~ said...

i admit i don't know that much about cricket - but don't even start with the world cup talk, dred. i live right in the heart of a soccer-freak neighborhood and i know i will NOT be sleeping atall (or driving for that matter)if certain teams end up advancing...

Campfyah said...

Well I don't even know where to start with the World Cup Cricket talk. we would hope that the extensive spending will somehow help the citizens of the countries hosting, but I somehow doubt that will happen.
I hope that in Barbados because we hosting the finals, that roads will get fixed, customer service will improve, some housing will go up in hope that after the game we can benefit some. But I ein too sure about that either. So we just gotta wait and see wha happens and hope fuh de best.

Lene said...

i'd go to jamaica, and i don't even watch cricket...

Luke Cage said...

Brotha J, I can always tell when you are feeling it when you start talking about Cricket. It has become a massive game in the upper echelon's of North American sport. I can really go on and on about the extensive spending on funds of the sport, but I'd be blogging on your blog. Alot of folks are riding on the financial outcome of this tournament.

nahmix said...

I have yet to understand the appeal of this sport. When it's on, I can't even get a hold of my dad.

gdab55 said...

Let us hope that it might inspire some of our youngsters to take up the bat and ball! We need to be delivered from the cricket doldrums!

Ri said...

Jamaica is more than renovating, they are building 2 new venues. Much abuzz there about the mounting losses beforehand. I suppose the proportion of persons that travel here for a test will be about the same for the world cup - not a very large group, really.

ThandieLand said...

Hmmn…check out my blog…here we are building a cricket stadium although we not see nary a practice match.

I wonder about us the voters and leaders in the Caribbean a lot. I think it is only now that the mental illness as a result of slavery is manifesting itself in us. We are now experiencing the delayed reaction. I don't understand what else it could be.

obifromsouthlondon said...

true talk. it's a fact that big events always put the host country/countries in big debt. the return on investment is always hard to measure. so what's the solution? when it comes to sports nothing. to much passion.

Rose said...

Cricket what! Just kidding. I just never see that here in my city or hear much about it...

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brooklyn babe said...

ditto obisouthoflondon, fi real

Leon said...

My thoughts exactly. I know the government will be sorely disappionted at the returns. I've got a post about this on my blog too.

Scratchie said...

Too much being spent....long term gains?....

princessdominique said...

Trumpism. Money. Same thing.

Nat said...

Hey Jdid!! long time no comments from me but you have been coming at us with some real good stuff but this post in particular got me. I will be going down for the world cup next year.. it will be my third one but world cup in the carribean sounds like a big ass party i dont wanna miss! if you are going you should let me know