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Broadcast, round-robin format, viewership give opportunity to generate revenue for World Cup

June 03, 2019 00:00:00

The Cricket World Cup returns to England as one of the most lucrative and most-watched events in all of sport. The tournament is now the third biggest stand-alone world championship in any sport, below football and rugby, according to Sportcal, a sports market intelligence company.

It will generate about £400?million for the International Cricket Council in broadcasting rights alone.

For Steve Elworthy, the managing director of the 2019 World Cup planning for this event, began in early 2014. A year before the 2015 World Cup, Elworthy went to Australia and New Zealand to see the organising committee's preparations, according to reports.

The London 2012 Olympic Games had shaped what Elworthy believed was possible. "What really recalibrated the way that events were run - not necessarily commercialised but probably an element of that - was the Olympics," he said.

Elworthy, who has about 100 staff for the competition, used both the Women's World Cup and Champions Trophy in 2017 - two tournaments that were widely praised - to gauge what was needed to make the World Cup even better.

The competition will feature open-air fan parks at cities around England and Wales. Demand for tickets has been high, with 3.2?million applications for the total of 800,000 available.

Demand for tickets has been high, with more than 03 million applicants for just over 650,000 match tickets. Arguably the most sought-after ticket of the entire tournament has been for India's meeting with Pakistan at Manchester's Old Trafford ground on June 16, with resale sites selling tickets from anywhere between $600 and $3,700.

The rivals' last meeting was the final of the Champions Trophy, also held in England in 2017, and attracted a worldwide TV audience of nearly half a billion people.

When Clive Lloyd lifted the trophy in the first World Cup final at Lord's in 1975, his team shared £4,000 in prize money. This time, the winning side will share £3.2?m: an indication of how much the tournament has changed over its 11 editions.

Indeed, there was a striking commercial innocence to the first three editions, hosted in England in 1975, 1979 and 1983: the semifinals were played on the same day at the same time, so fans could only watch one game on TV.

The World Cup's metamorphosis into a commercial juggernaut began in 1996, when it was co-hosted by India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, explains Jon Long, the former head of strategy at the ICC: "This felt like the first time the vibrancy of the event reached the masses in its most important commercial market."

In some ways the ICC could even claim to have done a better job of commercialisation than FIFA, albeit from a much smaller base.

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