Commercial potential of cricket remains untapped

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 19, 2006 (AFP) – Asia remains a vast area of untapped commercial possibility for cricketing authorities but all the elements are in place for this to change. That’s the way Asian Cricket Council (ACC) chief executive Syed Ashraful Huq sees the future for a sport he believes is on the cusp of being accepted like football in the region.

While cricket is nearly a religion in India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh, other parts of Asia are still coming to grips with why anyone would want to play a game for five days before getting a result.

But the mindset is changing, and countries like Afghanistan, Nepal, Thailand, and Kuwait and Oman in the Far East, are leading the way.

“We are at a very interesting stage in cricket in Asia,” Huq told AFP.

“The vast majority of the commercial values of the game are generated by Asia, predominantly India and its global diaspora, yet there are still vast areas of untapped resources.”

An indication of how much money there is in the game is that the Indian cricket board, one of the richest sporting associations in the world, has almost entirely funded the ongoing DLF Cup tri-series in Malaysia.