Steve Elworthy: The ICC Champions Trophy 2013
The England and Wales Cricket Board has this week released the details of next year's ICC Champions Trophy. The world's top eight one-day international teams will travel to England for three weeks of 50-over cricket from from 6th to 23rd June. Matches will be played at Cardiff's Swalec Stadium, London's Kia Oval, and at Edgbaston in Birmingham, which will stage the final. The two biggest rivalries in the game will be played out in the group stages, with England taking on Australia and India set to face Pakistan.
The tournament director for what may be the last-ever edition of the Champions Trophy - which is set to be replaced by the World Test Championship in 2017 - is ECB marketing and communications director Steve Elworthy. In the weeks before the launch SportsPro asked the former South Africa bowler, who was also in charge of the ICC World Twenty20 in 2007 and 2009, about his expectations for the competition.
Commercially, how much control over the event does the ECB have as host and how much remains with the International Cricket Council (ICC)?
Commercially the ICC secure the broadcast and sponsorship partners which are the main commercial drivers for each event. The ECB assists in terms of securing local partnerships. Each tournament is governed by a host agreement which allows the host a certain set of commercial income rights, such as ticketing and hospitality.
What lessons have you learned from hosting previous ICC events?
We have learnt that hosting global events is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the country, the ECB and the host venues to the world. It shows the multi-cultural nature of the country we live in and that is reflected in the incredible support we get with extremely well-attended matches. Operationally the key learning is that scenario planning is an essential part of ensuring a successful tournament as you never know what issues may arise before or during the event, so understanding each facet of the event is a necessity.
How does planning for an international event differ from a domestic tournament or home international series?
The basic tournament planning is relatively the same as that is what we do on a home international series each year. The only difference is that you have to recruit and train new and existing staff to deliver each and every aspect of the tournament, from logistics, security, volunteers, marketing, media operations and management. You have to work closely with Government to deliver tournament guarantees, from visa applications to ambush marketing prevention. The broadcasters and sponsors are signed up to the ICC and are different to the ECB partners, therefore we have to oversee a complete venue dressing change. There are a far bigger group of players, support staff and match officials. In the World Twenty20 there were twenty teams, twelve men’s teams and eight women’s teams. So it is the scale that changes and instead of each department looking after an area one local organising committee has to oversee the entire project.
Where does this fit into the ECB’s wider commercial plan and what can it do for the 50-over game in England?
The income from ICC events is an important revenue stream for the ECB and therefore would be welcomed in the years that the ECB host the tournaments. The real benefit comes in what a global 50 over cricket tournament can do for the one day game in the UK. This tournament allows the ECB to create a positive legacy for the 50-over game as it has the top eight one-day international cricket teams in the world participating in a three-week tournament, where every game has a consequence. It allows the ECB to engage with fans from each of these countries in either attending matches or following their team. This would lead to increased engagement with cricket and hopefully translate into them playing the sport. This can only be a healthy place for the ECB.
What effect does it have hosting the tournament in an Ashes summer, with England playing five Test matches against Australia later in the year?
It just adds to what will be an amazing summer of cricket. The best versus the best one-day international cricket in the ICC Champions Trophy followed by the iconic Investec Ashes Test Series, what could be better for the players and fans?
With the inaugural World Test Championship pencilled in for 2017 this may be the last Champions Trophy – has that had any effect on preparation?
It has not affected preparation at all, it has actually made me more positive to ensure that this tournament is a resounding success for the UK, the ICC and the ECB. One day cricket deserves it. We have to remember we are hosting the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2019, two years after the World Test Championship and the Women’s Cricket World Cup in 2017. We have the opportunity to showcase one-day cricket, build a passionate fan base of cricket supporters as they have some amazing global tournaments to look forward to in the not too distant future.
The September edition of SportsPro magazine features more on the ICC Champions Trophy as part of an interview with ICC president Alan Isaac. Click here to subscribe.
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