Monday, May 06, 2013

Florida Mayor Thinks Ballard Has A Screw Loose For Investing In Cricketing

I shared with you over the weekend a story from the Sun-Sentinel discussing the problem Lauderhill, Florida had in attracting international cricketing events to a new stadium it built for that very purpose in hopes of attracting a supposedly large base of cricketing fans from its Caribbean immigrant population. Lauderhill Mayor Richard Kaplan laments of the facility's ability to land events to sustain the facility, let alone how many people can be drawn to events hosted there. He thinks Mayor Greg Ballard must have a screw loose for thinking his city can fare better than his if it spends millions on a new stadium.
Richard J. Kaplan, Mayor of Lauderhill, Florida, says his letter to the ICC earlier this month was written in a last-ditch effort to get them to intervene and be proactive with the USA Cricket Association (USACA) about holding more events at the cricket stadium at the Central Broward Regional Park before plans are enacted by Broward County officials to convert the venue into a facility for other sports.

"I'm afraid what the county is going to do [is] go ahead and proceed (to make the conversion). We're at the 11th hour," Kaplan told ESPNcricinfo. "The ICC, if they do nothing or they say sorry there's nothing we can do, that is the answer. Cricket in the United States will go away." . . .
Mayor Greg Ballard of Indianapolis, Indiana, visited India earlier this month and discussed plans to construct an international cricket facility in Indianapolis, something that was initially reported by ESPNcricinfo in 2009. Kaplan says that he can't see how any other city would want to follow through on such an investment after witnessing what has happened with the stadium in Lauderhill, which was built as part of a $70 million county park.
"It's been told to me that [USACA] is trying to get other cities in the United States to build facilities that could be accredited," Kaplan said. "I will tell you that I know most of the mayors in the country that may deal with this thing, and I presume they're gonna talk to me about how it turned out in Florida. It isn't gonna be a positive review. I would assume that any area that is doing due diligence on working out the economic viability are going to look at what presently exists, in which case they're going to come and take a look at what happened here, and they're gonna ask what happened."

"It's being utilized a little bit by some Associate members and developmental teams for the ICC. It's [also] being used by some private groups from American College Cricket, but not one of those events puts anybody in the stands. It doesn't sell one ticket. I don't need a multi-million dollar stadium with 5000 permanent seats to sit there with nobody using it. I can understand the county's point that somebody needs to use it. It's a wasting asset."

Without more revenue generating events, Kaplan says that stadium reconfiguration may begin by the end of this summer. The most likely sports that the stadium would accommodate would be soccer, lacrosse or minor league baseball.

1 comment:

eLauderhill News said...

I read this story and I do not know where the author ever spoke with me and received any comments. I presume that this article is his interpretation of other writers works.

I can say I never said anything about a 'screw loose' or anything negative about your Mayor. All I said was that before moving forward 'due diligence' is needed and a long term authorization agreement with USACA to make sure that they will be successful in their pursuits.

I welcome other ICC sanctioned facilities in the US, which will hopefully open up the door to more national and international competition. To re-introduce Cricket to the US, which until WWI was the major sport in the US, and the National Pastime.

After all, Baseball, which took over as the National Pastime after WWI, is a version of Cricket called Rounders.