ICC Chief Executive David Richardson is anticipating ‘the greatest celebration of cricket ever’ on the eve of the 2019 Men’s Cricket World Cup, as cricket’s grandest quadrennial spectacle is poised to break new ground in number of different areas.
There have been more than three million ticket applications, with some individual games receiving as many as 400,000 applications. The tournament broadcast will go out to more than 200 territories and with an anticipated viewing time of 13 billion hours, with another billion video views on digital, this will have the largest reach ever for a World Cup.
Richardson, along with tournament managing director Steve Elworthy and tournament safety and security director Jill McCracken, faced the Press on Monday (today) at The Oval to outline their plans for the 12th edition of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup and the first on British soil in 20 years.
“Our ambition from the very start has been to make this event the greatest celebration of cricket ever. We have talked about three words in that regard: ‘Connecting’, ‘Entertaining’ and ‘Inspiring’,” said Richardson.
“Connecting both with existing fans and opening the door to new fans, both in the UK and globally. From an entertainment point of view, for me that is really all about the cricket. The new format with the ten best teams in the world, everyone in very good form, means that it promises to be one of the most competitive tournaments ever.
“We want the World Cup to inspire a new generation. We hear so many times about people who came into cricket because India won the World Cup in ’83 or the West Indies in the late 70s. Hopefully this will provide an opportunity, in particular to one country who goes away with the trophy but to everyone really around the world,” added Richardson.
The opening party on the Mall in London on Wednesday will raise the curtain on the 2019 tournament before hosts England get us underway at the Oval on Thursday against South Africa.
Elworthy insists everything is now in place to spread the word of cricket far and wide. “We want to grow the success of the game both in and outside of the UK,” he said. There will be some incredible broadcast figures around, but this also presents a huge chance to get new audiences engaged. The demand from a ticketing perspective has been outstanding, he said and added “this has been one of the biggest cricket ballots we have run and the results have been incredible. We have seen more than 110,000 women buying tickets, we have 100,000 under-16s coming to witness and experience the World Cup.
“We have over 200,000 people coming to cricket for the first time. The picture that really resonates with me, when we talk about inspiring the next generation is Anya Shrubsole looking over the fence at Lord’s as a youngster who was then a key member of England winning the World Cup in 2017.
“That is what we want the matchday experience to be for our youngster.”
From a security perspective, McCracken and her team could not be better prepared for the show to get underway. “This will always be about the cricket,” she said.
“But this is a huge global event that myself and my team have been planning since 2016. We were obviously able to use the Champions Trophy and Women’s World Cup in 2017 to test a few things. My team has a broad range of skills, they are all ex-police or military service with a huge range of experience in delivering major events.
“Our aim to bring consistency across 11 different venues. We work very closely with the police and the intelligence agencies sharing up to date information. Our overarching aim is to create a safe environment but without that being oppressive for the public.”
The ICC World Cup 2019 will start on Friday, May 30, when hosts England take on South Africa at the Kennington Oval, London.