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World Cup Criticism In North America Justified

By Orin Davidson

Cries of negligence in North America on the part of the Cricket World Cup 2007 Organizing Committee’s (CWC) marketing efforts were heard in the Big Apple over the last few days from the West Indies community.

This is not surprising considering the World Cup is the biggest ever event to be staged in the West Indies and everyone, regardless of location feels entitled to be fully involved.

While the complaints have merit, it is not for lack of effort on the committee’s part that fans have to complain here.

A number of trips have been made here by officials to promote the extravaganza, but the coordinating on spot has left much to be desired.

So far teams of officials from the CWC have made two official visits to New York, based on the records. Individual contingents from the various tourism authorities from the islands have made even more visits, with the Jamaica Tourist Board leading the way

with three presentations here alone, including a second visit by the country’s Ambassador- At- large, ex world wicket record holder Courtney Walsh, last Tuesday.

Trinidad and Tobago made their rounds twice and while Guyana which does not have an established tourism entity, sent its Local Organizing Committee head for one visit to New York.

In light of his demanding responsibilities, one cannot expect Chris Dehring and company from Cricket World Cup organizing committee to have made more trips here, taking into consideration visits were also made to Atlanta, Toronto and at least two other cities.

What was needed was the establishment of a permanent public relations unit of the CWC setup here to properly coordinate those visits, which sad to say, were woefully inadequately attended by the media. The Caribbean media was conspicuous by its absence in most of the exercises while mainstream ones were non existent.

It explains why the filtering of information to the public relating to the visits has not happened.

It is not known whether provision of funding for the setting up of a permanent base here was made, but from all appearances there was an existing PR outfit for Dehring’s second visit which made a lousy job of it, considering the media’s absence.

The CWC CEO needed an outfit with West Indian links and contacts with the big media companies in town.

As for advertising, obviously no effort was made to inform anyone through ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox or ESPN.

Of all avenues, this was the best way to reach fans and attract even non-cricket fans from mainstream America.

When it is taken into consideration that such commercials appear from time to time advertising tourism in Jamaica and Barbados, it should not be beyond the CWC 2007 to exploit such mediums.

The media in the host countries are being swamped with commercials in electronic and print outlets, and it would’ve been just as sensible to do the same here.

The final and semifinal games may have been sold out, but more than enough tickets for comfort are still on sale for the first round group matches.

With more than three months to go before the opening ceremony, the CWC 2007 still has time to bolster its sales by investing in the mainstream electronic and print media throughout North America.

Any more malingering would be too late.
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