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Selling Cricket to America

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Just before Christmas I was approached by US sports network ESPN to provide them some copy for some adverts promoting their coverage of the Cricket World Cup. Yes, I know, I was surprised as you are now. But delighted also.

I took this very seriously. A bit like a method actor I got into the character of an American ad man – I smoked like a chimney, developed a chronic alcohol dependency and repeatedly cheated on my wife. It’s alright, she doesn’t read this.

In actuality I was brought in as a genuine cricket geek (remarkably it seems that news of my status as a sport saddo has travelled across the Atlantic) to ensure that any copy would seem authentic to the surprisingly large community of cricket loons Stateside. I supplied them with such gems as “delivery” and “toss”. This ad forms part of the result of our collaboration:

In my head this campaign is the flint that creates the spark that lights the fire of cricket in America. My head is a strange place.

In my head the ESPN coverage of the World Cup reaches non-cricket fans and something clicks. Before long games of street cricket will be played from the projects of New York through to huge collegiate matches in front of fanatical support. In the future when Americans think of the Super Bowl they won’t think of football, they’ll think of a really good delivery. And when they talk of the death of baseball, they’ll all agree that the beginning of the end was the 2015 Cricket World Cup and the ESPN coverage and ultimately my “toss”.


Written by harrisharrison

February 7, 2015 at 2:28 pm

Scrabble With Tiger

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I am watching a lot of ESPN Sports Classic today. I have the week off and I am trying any tactic to avoid Loose Women. They’re showing one of those Masters Movies that look more like a promotional video for a New England retirement home. It’s the 2001 edition when Tiger Woods completed his Tiger Slam. I missed it at the time because I was holiday in New York probably getting served pancakes by one of his many female acquaintances.

Needing a par down the last to regain the Green Jacket, he clumped a drive down the centre, knocked a short-iron to 20 feet and rolled in the putt for a birdie. Easy. Tiger Woods really is very good at golf. We should remember that. And people complain that he doesn’t engage with his fans enough, but he does. He’s just quite selective on which fans he engages with, and slightly overenthusiastic when he does so. I wonder how many of his indiscretions began with an innocent request to autograph a visor.

It’s amazing how much seismic activity one peripatetic penis can cause in the fault lines of an entire global sport. An entire library of articles has been written on how golf is going to survive without the fierce media glare that is normally concentrated onto Tiger. But what is Tiger himself going to? Most sportsmen retire to play more golf.

Perhaps we shouldn’t dwell on it too much.

Written by harrisharrison

December 14, 2009 at 2:58 pm

Bring On The Blue Oblong

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The Ashes is nigh. And with it comes the nauseating realisation (as if I didn’t know before) that I will ingest approximately 60% of the action through a 5cm wide blue oblong at the bottom of my monitor at work, probably dwarfed by a large spreadsheet whose cells contain information on lip gloss stock or wrinkle cream sales or something. If the make-up of my computer screen was directly correlative to my actual interest then the cricket score would be projected out in cinematic technicolour and the sales figures relegated to a single tiny pixel.

I should consider myself fortunate: sales administrators in the olden days were unable to follow the deeds of Grace, Larwood or Bradman on their abacuses or typewriters. And I can seek solace in numbers. Come Wednesday, clerical factotums all over the country will busy themselves with the surreptious pressing of the refresh button, cravenly looking over their shoulders for a  suspicious boss.

In 2005, the Guardian online coverage nourished the collective appetite with the over-by-over updates. As a side dish, they served up choice contributions from readers, so that the frustrations of office-bound cricket watching became a shared experience. A support group.

The other crumb of comfort is that if it all starts going hideously awry for England, say we’re 96-6 chasing 619-4 dec at Sophia Gardens, then I can make it all go away with one click of my mouse. Watching An Aussie Goes Barmy on ESPN Classic this week makes me glad I’m at a reasonably safe distance from potential humiliation. The show follows an Australian as he watches our last catastrophic tour Down Under from the enemy ranks of the Barmy Army. As England slink to another defeat at Melbourne, the ashen faces of the Army say everything: as if their very souls are being pulverised to oblivion with every swish of Andrew Symonds’ bat.

Bring on the blue oblong.

Written by harrisharrison

July 4, 2009 at 10:45 am

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