Wednesday, 25 July 2012

The "American" dream of a Premier League

In 2010 USACA the so called American Cricket Board announced that it has formed a collaboration with NZ Cricket, Poddar Holding of Singapore to form Cricket Holding America. It was a firm that was assigned to hold a T20 league in USA in 2012.There was excitement for the league not in USA but rather outside as people thought that Cricket may finally break back into the nation.

But as time passed it was USACA back to it's old ways. It first fired it's CEO once the deal was secured, perhaps the bufoon Dainty wanted full share of 2 M$. Then there was a fraud election. And then an announcement that tournament will be held in 2013.

I wondered if it is possible to ever hold the league in USA and make it popular. There are many reasons that will work against it. To start with the market to begin with is not the 350 Million Americans but rather 5 Million Target population. To add to this population is scattered all over the country. Then there are not proper stadiums in the country. So with so many challenges is it really possible.

I pondered upon the question and realized it is a fine line to walk. The APL will have to many tick in the check boxes

1. Proper Administration
To be a Proper Administration you have not to be USACA. The good thing is NZC and Poddar Holding have formed a independent body to control T20 League known as CHA. They have to be sure that they make all the proceeding in a very fair and transparent manner. They are not BCCI of America but rather like starting a Handball league in India and hoping to challenge IPL.

2. The Target Population
To start with CHA should not make the mistake of taking whole of 340 M American Population as the market but rather should target only the populations from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, West Indies, Nepal, Sri Lanka & Afghanistan. These are the populations who though are far away from their nations but yearn for Cricket. If they get quality players to watch, they will not miss it.
Based on Wikipedia and various other sources I have formed a approximate cricket population in major North American Cities. The population belong to countries mentioned above.

Cricket Populations (Ind, Pak, SL, BD, Nep, Afg & WI) in major American Cities
3. Use of Major Stadiums 
Imagine a Excited South Asian talking to American about the APL match. The American seems to be Interested in tagging along seeing the Excitement and then finally ask "So where is the Match". Imagine the answer coming as some ground on outskirts of New York. Well if the American had some intention of giving it a try once it will be lost.

The T20 or any leagues have a element of glamor in them and what can bring glamor into sports. Using the best stadiums of the country for the league in the most glamorous thing.

Clockwise: Citi Stadium, Possible Grounds for APL, Fort Lauderhale Cricket Ground (Only ODI Stadium in USA) & Yankee Stadium. The First & Last Stadium will bring in the Glamor that this league would require a lot
There are many options that can be used for APL which may include mostly Baseball Ground (They just fit the Size) and the only ODI Cricket Stadiums in Florida and Toronto.

4. Optimum Number of Teams
To start with the number of teams should be kept as low. If I was there I would be holding the tournament I would keep the number of teams as 6. This would help the stars to be effectively distributed amongst teams. It will also help to keep the league short which will be appealing both to fans and the stars to squeeze in time for tournament.
Based on the target population the 6 teams should be 2 from New York, 1 each from Miami, San Francisco, Chicago & Los Angeles.
If teams from Canada are also included then it should be team Toronto Replacing Los Angeles and if we go with 1 team from New York then Vancouver joining the league.

5. The Northern Neighbor- Canada
Toronto has 682,000 Cricket Crazy population a whopping 11% of Population of City. It is the highest percentage just less than Miami & Florida. It is also ahead of all American cities except New York & Miami.
Vancouver also has percentage Cricket Crazy population than most American cities and population ahead of US cities like Los Angeles or Washington.

These stats surely make the case for the league to be a combined US & Canada league. And this is not just a case that will happen with Cricket. All the Big 4-MLB, NBA, NFL & NHL actually are US+Canada leagues

6. International Stars & Recognition
To start with the league should be recognized with ICC. As NZC is involved this would not be that difficult. However the bigger thing would be getting the agreement of the important boards i.e. BCCI, PCB, SLC, BCB & WICB. These are the 5 critical boards for the league and if CHA is intelligent enough it should offer some financial incentives to these big 5

The 4 South Asian Cricket Giants & their stars specially Indians would be critical in the league to make it a success
The Caribbean people make a major cricket population and ignoring their stars would be a foolish step
The league should be studded with stars from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, West Indies. It should also ensure it gets the stars of Sri Lanka but also Associates like Nepal & Afghanistan. These associates are also cricket crazy nations and if the fans know their stars are playing alongside big names they surely will make the league popular not only in US residents but back in Nepal & Afghanistan too.
Some of the names could be likes of Dhoni, Kohli, Sehwag from India, Afridi, Shoaib Akhtars from Pakistan, Shakib & Tamims from Bangladesh, Sangakara, Murali, Jayasurya's from Sri Lanka, Gayle & Pollards from Windies, Hamid Hassan & Nowroz Mangal from Afghanistan, Paras & Shakti from Nepal. Getting some popular retired stars would also not be a bad idea.
Hamid Hassan(Afghanistan), Paras Khadka & Shakti Gauchan (Nepal): Cricket is very popular in these Associate Countries and their stars will help get in some extra dedicated fans
 7. Last but not least, some Glamor to league
Glamor would surely be important. Involving some Hollywood & Bollywood Stars would surely bring in glitz & glamor to the league, an added incentive for people to come to the grounds

All said and done this would take a serious planning and action from CHA. Let's hope they are able to do it and cricket has got some footing in the biggest economy of the world. I will be waiting for APL in 2013. Let's hope they take in some of the recommendations.


  1. yaaa it was hell of a post.. i like it bro.. waiting anxiously to see if the APL comes or not !

  2. Great imagination by great man which is very possible , we all are waiting Jashan .
    we all want cricket everywhere .
    Great job Jashan :)