Apart from oil and marijuana in the Caribbean region, Cricket West Indies (CWI) is sitting on not only one of the best but also the most precious resources in the Caribbean — the question is, do they know it?
The fact is, today sports is big business. Americans are said to spend over 100 billion dollars on games last year.
A study of the global sports industry puts the market at over $600 billion with soccer being the king in earnings.
According to a recent report from Forbes, the world’s 100 highest-paid athletes, collectively earned $3.8 billion over the last 12 months, up 23% over last year’s earnings of $3.11 billion.
The report shows that the top five highest paid athletes in the world in 2018 include:
- Floyd Mayweather, Boxing — $285 million
- Lionel Messi, Soccer — $111 million
- Cristiano Ronaldo, Soccer —$108 million
- Conor McGregor, MMA — $99 million
- Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, Soccer — $90 million
Now, cricket may appear to be minuscule in terms of the global sports market, but it represents a large industry especially given the size of the South Asian market.
What does this have to do with Windies cricket?
First, CWI has a monopoly on cricket in the region which means it controls all facets of the game throughout the Caribbean.
Second, West Indies has a long and rich heritage in cricket which marks it as part of its unique selling proposition.
Third, and most importantly, CWI has oversight of a natural and diverse talent pool of players from six cricket associations namely Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Leeward Islands, and the Windward Islands.
The truth is there is no other country among the cricket playing nations that plays Windies brand of cricket and fans will travel from around the world to see Windies players on the pitch.
The fact that Windies has so many players parading their cricket skills in the various leagues around the world is a testimony to the demand of players from the Caribbean.
That said, CWI has failed to see the players as their most valuable assets, and if not, they have failed to invest, enhance, and develop their natural products – the players.
Consequently, today, many of the players on display lack the quality of yesteryear, albeit some can still “eat a food” from the overseas leagues.
Currently, players make the Windies team with ease, and there is little or no competition to displace those players on the team. In other words, there is no surplus on the production line.
The fact is with a long-term strategic vision, CWI should be producing and marketing players to the extent of filling teams overseas and still maintaining a full slate of players for their home team.
Instead, what obtains is a scramble and scraping at the bottom of the barrel to find eleven good players to represent the once proud cricketing region.
It is now full time for the CWI management to get up off their collective ass and go out into the highways and hedges to unearth the cricket talents in the region and ensure that they meet quality standard for marketing not only locally, but also internationally.
Failure to make this strategic move, starting in 2019 is not an option!
Nigel Belle, Readers Bureau, Fellow
Edited by Jesus Chan
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