I’ve just landed back in the UK from a one-week whirlwind trip to our head office in Wellington, New Zealand. It is a long way to travel for such a short space of time, however this is the norm with modern companies operating globally. I leave all the richer for the trip though as, aside from what I assume is the traditional welcome of a mini-earthquake, I had the opportunity to meet the team at HQ. The greatest benefit was one so overlooked these days, the chance to not talk over Skype, but to actually have a yarn and share some ideas face to face (and there are some exciting ideas floating around, but I’ll get to those...). All of this set to a backdrop of some world class cricket at the Basin Reserve before the weather rolled in and my Qantas A380 rocketed out.
The trip provided many examples of technology changing the face of the game, things I thought were still merely for us dreamers playing recreational cricket, are already here for all levels of the game. There were 3 different digital scoreboards being showcased at the Basin reserve for Meg Lanning & Luke Wright’s savage centuries, live-streaming, video capture & auto-highlights all being trialled. The previous night I had followed the Aus/NZ 2nd ODI using the new notification engine on the CricHQ app, with ball-by-ball updates flashing up ahead of the TV feed!
It’s fantastic to see cricket finally catching up with global trends, and making the sport relevant & accessible to the public again, particularly the younger generation. If you glance at international attendances, it doesn’t take much to realise that cricket needs to work differently to engage its audience. A cricket world allowing for content to be instantly streamed and consumed digitally, in shorter bursts, will surely sate the appetite of the modern fan.
Similarly, on a recreational/administrative level, we are seeing first hand the benefits of digitising the game. At the Greater Manchester Cricket League awards dinner last month, their Chairman Martin Kay commented on how great it was to see the average age of scorers fall so sharply since they implemented CricHQ. This isn’t a slight on the older generation, the majority of whom have grasped the technology with both hands, but a nod to helping future proof the game we all get so much pleasure from.
This discussion was further enhanced at the inaugural CricHQ/TCS user forum the following week, where the very point of attracting younger scorers was top of the list of “Challenges facing the game”, appropriately raised by the youngest scorer in the room, Nathan Bradley. This discussion even progressed to the potential of adding an online, digital scoring accreditation to sit alongside current scorers qualifications, which potentially seems a great opportunity to raise the profile & status of this new generation of scorers.
Piecing all this together, it’s not hard to envisage a world where a scorer’s role may progress to that of a one-stop-shop cricket content producer; accurately recording the games events, automatic digital updates to ground scoreboards, video capture & highlights packages, maybe even scope for some commentary & post-game interviews or analysis! Think I’m dreaming? Well going back to my mention of 3 digital scoreboards, live streaming, auto highlights, and much more above, this was all run by one very calm scorer with an iPad in one hand, and a coffee in the other.
The future is here, what I want to know is who’ll be the first to provide their services for all of this, and how much will they charge per day?! Content, as I was told recently, is the new currency after all.