By: Dan Migala
THINK BIG. Focus small.
This was the foundation of a keynote presentation I had the honor of giving four years ago as part of a landmark meeting on behalf of our client partner, the International Cricket Council (ICC).
The audience was the ICC’s first-ever Town Hall Meeting on North American soil at the Chicago Hyatt Regency Hotel that received high praise from ESPN and many others at the time. It’s hard to describe the room, but there was a palpable energy that even as I write this post, I have trouble explaining. Even for a wordsmith like me, it’s more accurate to say it was a feeling. A great feeling to be in a room where significant change was occurring in – what we often refer to as – “America’s Original Pastime.”
In the months that followed that meeting, we had the honor of speaking at more than a dozen regional road shows hosted in tandem with the then ICC Head of Global Development and current 4FRONT advisor Tim Anderson. In hundreds of 1-1 conversations, we quickly learned about the incredible passion for cricket across the country.
The noise was loud enough in the sports business community that we got the attention of the Sports Business Journal with this guest column co-written by myself and now USA Cricket Board Member, Usman Shuja.
As a native Chicagoan delivering that speech, I’m not sure what seemed crazier: the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series or having a World Champion Cubs player swinging a cricket bat and helping us raise awareness for cricket in mainstream America. Thankfully, both of these unthinkable moments happened and we had Cubs star Anthony Rizzo pick up a cricket bat and showcase cricket to North American sports fans.
The feeling during that Town Hall meeting, that things were changing for the better, was real in those moments and pleasingly this has continued to manifest as we fast forward to the present day and beyond.
USA Cricket is stabilized and, with Paraag Marathe at the helm, recently secured a US$1B investment from ACE (American Cricket Enterprises). The vision of a T20 league is as close of a reality as ever.
It’s incredible to think about a new era ahead under Iain Higgins’ leadership and his appointment as we head into an ODI series this month in Florida. We’re especially honored to have 4FRONT Vice President of Global Solutions Eddie Fitzgibbon on the ground helping USA Cricket make it all happen.
For me personally and our larger 4FRONT team that is working daily on the business of cricket domestically in the USA and Internationally, it’s gratifying to look back at the last four years and what’s been accomplished with USA Cricket– and, even prouder, to be part of the team in the days and years ahead bringing this focus to life.
To learn more about 4FRONT’s groundbreaking work in creating the Big Bash League, please click here!