The massive crowds witnessed at Caribbean venues during the ongoing ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, should fill Barbadians with a sense of regret, having missed the opportunity to be among the countries to host matches.
This is the view of director of cricket for the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA), Steven Leslie, who in an interview with Barbados TODAY, contended that Barbados missed out on some much-needed revenue and publicity.
“We could see from the crowds of the ICC Women’s trophy, Barbados would have significantly benefited if we were successful in the bid. It is truly a situation where girls and women would not have the opportunity to see their heroes in person but they would have to see it on ESPN. So we believe that Barbados would have significantly benefited from the revenue as well as the general lift to the country,” said Leslie
The recently concluded round of matches in St Lucia as well as the semi-finals in Antigua, have attracted crowds between ten to eleven thousand spectators.
Last year a team from the ICC visited the Caribbean in late October and early November as part of preparation and planning for the tournament. The team inspected 11 venues in eight countries, including Kensington Oval. However, Kensington failed to make the cut because the then Democratic Labour Party (DLP) government refused to sign off on waivers which would have amounted to approximately $300,000 to participating teams.
Noting that previous women’s World Cup tournaments had not yielded the type of attendance as witnessed this time around, the BCA director of cricket, suggested this was essentially a lack of vision.
“It would be fair to assume that CWI’s marketing team would have contributed significantly to the crowds that we seeing now. The previous tournaments would not have indicated the strength of the crowds that we are now having. So one can almost excuse someone assessing previous world cups and being a bit hesitant,” he said.
Leslie contended that a tournament of this nature would have made for a perfect marketing fit for brand Barbados, given that females have ascended to the key leadership roles in the country.
“If you look at public life in Barbados, females occupy most of the key positions, the Prime Minister is a female and Governor General is a female. So this would have been an easy sell, as they would have been able to show women excelling at sports as well. That would have resonated really well,” Leslie contended.
Prime Minister Mia Mottley, who was Opposition Leader at the time, had weighed in on the issue when news first broke that Government was refusing to take up the conditions of the bid.
She charged at the time that in addition to letting the cricketing fraternity down, the DLP administration was also hurting hoteliers who would have benefited from the spinoff, as contingents of supporters were expected to travel with the various teams.
“What are we saying to the hoteliers who would otherwise be getting this business in November of next year? This would have been a month before the tourist season starts. What is the message to the taxi drivers, restaurateurs or all of the people who would be expected to service the teams visiting Barbados but the many thousands of persons coming to view the game?” questioned Mottley, who claimed the last World Cup final hosted by Barbados had contributed $51 million to the economy.