I don’t know what is happening in other counties but in Lancashire the in-fighting has erupted. Not about the fact that the club politbureau took a decision to join the T20 circus without consulting members – but what the new team will be called.
The consensus outside Manchester appears to be that many will not follow a team bearing that monicker. Supporters have quickly divided along city, town and football tribal lines.
Opinions on the Facebook fans page include: “I’m a Lancastrian not a Manc” and “Can you imagine a Liverpudlian supporting a Manchester team?”. Even someone from Bolton – part of Greater Manchester – poured scorn on the idea.
Is this happening elsewhere? I can’t imagine so unless maybe Yorkshire. It is staggering that there is more animosity about the Manchester franchise than there ever is about relations with the noisy neighbours.
The ECB has yet to unveil which locations will get the franchise but clearly they will be based around major metropolitan areas. Will counties then consult fans or members on the name?
It seems unlikely, steeped as they now are in marketing speak and jargon – even Colin Graves spouting tosh about stakeholders and the like. You can imagine some sort of p.r. agency being brought into produce the optimum name.
I suppose they could go neutral given the likely backlash – something like Northern Raiders. However the divisions are not just on geographical lines – many followers just don’t want anything to do with the new competition. Probably why many clubs didn’t go out to a public forum.
Many feel that the franchise games, complete with fireworks and boundary hot tubs, will not be their cup of tea and it is hoped that the Lancashire T20 team will help the grass-roots game in Southport, Blackpool and Liverpool.
The ECB is also proposing a new all-star programme for 5-8 year olds to gear them up for the magnificence of the T20 whatsits name. Here’s an idea – pour some resources into state schools where cricket is all but dead.
I thought it was heavily hinted that it was going to be “Red Rose”, and Yorkshire “white rose”.
Probably the red rose raiders vs the white rose whalers or something.
There is an obvious solution to this problem: there already exist two strong brands that carry powerful name recognition, a long and storied history and rivalry, and a real sense of identity that the majority of people in the region strongly identify with. These are the kinds of historic brands that are worth millions and millions of pounds – American franchises would give their right arm for such strong and historic brandings that tap into the heart of the regional sense of self-identity. These brands are “Yorkshire” and “Lancashire”.
I believe there are already established teams with those names playing T20 cricket in something called the Natwest Blast, which (without FTA exposure or much by way of promotion) is already a moderately successful competition.
The wheel really doesn’t need reinventing. I think you have to question the motives of anyone who claims that it does.
I think I should run a poll on how many county fans intend to watch / buy tickets for the new City T20. My gut tells me not many … with the possible exception of casual fans in London. I know that the ECB are trying to target a completely new audience with the new tournament – people who previously had no interest in cricket – but that amounts to a hell of a lot of new bums on seats. My guess is that many of those seats will be empty.
The ECB’s brand, which is generally quite toxic considering past controversies (KP, the big three ICC stitch up, and the way counties were coerced into this new competition) might also play a part in the tournament’s potential success / failure. How many hardcore cricket fans will actually want to embrace a brainchild of people like Harrison? There is a lot of ill feeling toward the ECB and some cricket fans will want it to fail just so the authorities get egg on their faces.
You should run a poll of people asking people who don’t currently have any interest in cricket whatsoever to name the “big name” players who would entice them to part with their hard cash to watch a new competition.
My guess is that 90% of respondents would be unable to come up with a single name. Those who did, would probably name people who aren’t likely to play, such as “Freddie”, “that Kohli bloke”, or “Root”.
Where is this new audience coming from? T20 fans already have the blast, easier to promote that than this new rubbish. The ECB must be the only governing body trying to actively destroy the game they propose to represent. Absolutely appalling. Time for a breakaway league Kerry Packer style.
They seem to believe that there is a mass of people out there who do not like cricket but who can be converted to cricket – this competition will be aimed at the unconverted. Indeed the language emanating for the ECB and the numerous cliquey ‘Sky types’ such as Michael Vaughan, has been disdainful of preexisting cricket fans.
Now just analyse this for a second – sit back and get the overriding thrust of the thing: the administrative body of a sport is launching a multi-million pound competition of that sport that will be aimed squarely at people who do not like that sport, and that is actually disliked by many who do currently like the sport!!
Those early attendances are going to be interesting!
Not just any cricket will convert these people though – it specifically has to be a money spinning 5 week tournament featuring loads of made up teams that nobody has any affiliation to
The thing with having a ‘Red Rose’ franchise for the north west and a ‘white’ for the north east, it merely makes one wish to raise the rhetorical question, what do those roses represent? Lancashire and Yorkshire of course. The irony would be of the franchises ditching counties but utilising the franchise’s historic emblem! It would be proof that Lancashire, Yorkshire and the rest of the counties are perfectly serviceable administrative units and cultural identifiers with which to contest a Twenty20 competition.
But then, as stated, they might go down a generic unattached route – I’m actually suspecting this. I think we can expect North Western combined with some seemingly random menacing animal.
Why not have the ‘Red Rose’ team play as Lancashire, and the ‘White Rose’ team play as Yorkshire. In an 18 county competition. Oh hang on, we already have that, and it’s successful, let’s **** it up, and try something else. Graves, Harrison & Strauss really do live up to their employers name England Cluless Board.
I think a lot of us agree this franchised idea for mercenaries isn’t needed. However I would just like to add one note. I was at Liverpool to watch Lancashire on Friday and fans from all over the region were united under the Red Rose badge. If they mess with that strong identity it could cause some serious rifts.
The whole “rebranding” exercise simply shows how foolish the ECB are being in trying to slavishly copy the Big Bash. There’d be a similar problem with Durham (who have from the beginning marketed themselves as the entire North East’s cricket team, transcending bitter football rivalries, but may have to make the unedifying choice of city between Newcastle and Sunderland) as well as Hampshire (Southampton v Portsmouth being a rivalry which runs equally deep). This isn’t as much of a problem in Australia where such a large proportion of each state’s population live in the state capital – so the BB teams can be city-based without alienating fans from elsewhere in the state.
Car number plates starting with the letter “M” are officially from “Manchester and Merseyside”.
They wouldn’t, would they…?