Warm up matches
St Vincent and the Grenadines failed in its bid to hoist any matches of the World Cup 2007. As a sort of consolation prize, however, the local association has been granted some warm up matches.
The local association and the government now appear to consider that the warm up matches are of the order that it would impact significantly on the fortunes of the country as a whole and on the game in particular.
Already the required number of cricket strips has been laid at Arnos vale and we are told that soon there would be extensive work undertaken in terms of the regarding of the field, the construction of additional stands, the relocation of the Players Pavilion and the addition of a full fledged gymnasium, among other things.
It all sounds just great.
It is nonetheless important to raise some pertinent points for consideration by people who wish to engage themselves in critical thinking and not merely pander to the patron-clientelism that pervades our political system.
One wonders the extent to which anyone has engaged in the sort of cost benefit analysis in respect of the investment being proposed for Arnos Vale. Here is a facility that is not likely to access more than a single One Day International annually. Actually, given the way things are going, that may not even be annually. Additionally, the matches allocated to us may continue to be among lesser mortals in a manner of speaking such that they do not generate sufficient interest for us as a nation to reap the rewards we see St Lucia and Grenada amassing.
It may also be appropriate to reflect on the past and assess the extent to which we have benefited from the use of Arnos Vale in respect of it being the home for cricket. The economists may do well to provide information in this regard.
It seems that if we are to rely solely on cricket to generate income and justify the expenditures on Arnos Vale there would be great difficulty in making a strong case.
The World Cup is a single one-off event that may well be overrated in so far as the Caribbean is concerned. But even with the World Cup it does seem unlikely that we could generate income from cricket being played at Arnos Vale given that the sport appears to be losing its appeal to the youths of the nation and certainly local and regional matches do not generate even medium sized crowds.
Gates are negligible. Sponsorship is a hard-sell.
It does appear that the commitment of Arnos Vale to cricket, in and of itself, does not provide enough funds to meet the commitments to staff and the work they have to do at the same facility.
Income for Arnos Vale has been supplemented by rental of the venue to religious organizations. The income from this source continues to increase.
More recently the rental of the netball facility at Arnos Vale seems to have netted more funds than its other uses.