Being part of a major international sport, and benefitting from that in terms of funding and capacity can never be underestimated.
We see it in football through UEFA, in Rugby through revenue streams from the Rugby World Cup and from next month we are likely to see it in Cricket as Ireland looks certain to step up to full test playing status.
It won’t happen overnight but the uplift in potential is enormous.
As an example, take a look at the Women’s World Cup being played in England this summer.
Ireland didn’t qualify this time around but the hope is that by the time the next edition comes around that we will be in a stronger position following the investment by Hanley Energy announced last month into the Women’s Game and by Turkish Airlines into the men’s side of the sport.
The International Cricket Council last week announced substantially increased prize money for the tournament totalling $2 million.
They also unveiled unprecedented broadcast plans for the tournament as part of its long term ambition to bring parity to the women’s game.
The ICC Board unanimously backed the move as it committed to accelerate the global development of women’s cricket. It signaled its intent to move towards equality across the game within 15 years and a blueprint for growth and sustainability will be launched later this year.
“The ICC Women’s World Cup is the pinnacle of the women’s game and as such the players should be rewarded appropriately,” said ICC President David Richardson.
“Two million dollars is the first step towards greater parity and recognition. The prize fund for the 2013 edition was just $200,000, and this announcement shows a greater level of commitment than ever before.”
“The change will not happen overnight but the women’s game is crucial to the global growth of cricket. There is undoubtedly an audience for it – there were almost 18 million views of highlights of the Women’s World Cup Qualifier earlier this year – and we need to grow that further.”
“There is greater depth in the women’s game and that is leading to increased competitiveness which is what fans want to see.”
“We think the Women’s World Cup this summer will be a turning point in the history of the game. There is growing interest globally in women’s sports and we want cricket to be front and centre of this and lead by example.”
In a second significant commitment to the global growth of the women’s game, the ICC also confirmed that for the first time in the history of the ICC Women’s World Cup, this year’s tournament in England and Wales will see every ball of every game being covered live.
As part of a comprehensive coverage plan of the eight-team tournament, 10 matches will be broadcast live on television. In Ireland we will see that on Sky Sports. The remaining 21 matches will be live-streamed.
The television broadcasts, which will include the two semifinals and the final, will be covered with the help of 30 cameras. This includes eight Hawk-Eye cameras which will be employed at each broadcast game for Ultra-motion ball-tracking that will enable a detailed analysis of the game.
The final at Lord’s on 23 July will provide a different level of experience with a drone camera and a Spidercam being deployed to capture different angles, something never seen before in women’s cricket or indeed at the Home of Cricket, Lord’s.
“To recognize the players in this way demonstrates the value women’s cricket can add to the game globally and I know we’ll see some exceptional cricket this summer that can grow our fan-base around the world”