The marquee event looks set to take cricket firmly into the digital age with a whole host of technological investments to enhance fans’ experiences
NEXT month’s ICC Champions Trophy looks set to take cricket firmly into the digital age with a whole host of technological investments to enhance fans’ experiences, in what is being labelled the sport’s first ‘smart’ tournament.
Getting underway on June 1, the ICC Champions Trophy sees the eight best men’s teams from around the world go head to head, with the tournament being hosted in England and Wales for the second consecutive occasion.
The host venues of The Oval, Edgbaston and Cardiff Wales Stadium will be kitted out with player tracking cameras, in addition to Hawk-Eye, front and reverse view stump cameras and Spider Cam.
In order to boost fan engagement, the ECB and ICC have also invested in high-density wifi at grounds, ensuring great connectivity and reducing the pressure on 3G and 4G networks.
And with almost 90 per cent of tickets already sold out, tournament director Steve Elworthy insists this year’s ICC Champions Trophy could be the most watched edition to date.
“At the other side of the boundary rope, it’s about how we engage with fans, how we improve their experience, and then everybody who is outside of that,” said Elworthy, who represented South Africa in the 1998 ICC Champions Trophy, then called the ICC Knock Out tournament.
“It’s going to be a ‘smart’ tournament, and we’ve looked at how technology can improve the customer experience, whoever that customer is.
“It’s become expected, I think, for fans to come to a venue and expect wifi. It has been a huge investment from the ECB and the ICC to deliver high-density wifi at all Champions Trophy grounds.
“We’re also going to have player tracking, using specific cameras around the grounds, following the players’ movements, which will offer incredible insight and deep data to see how far they move, or how far they don’t.
“The ticket sales are a key driver for me when I look at any tournament, to show the health of any game in any format.
“When you look at a tournament like the Champions Trophy, you see the demand for tickets and you actually realise how important that particular competition is and this format of the game is to the fans.
“Tickets are 88 per cent sold out already, which is ahead of where we were in 2013 with total attendance across the tournament.
“We still have a week until the start, and then a whole tournament of three weeks to run, so we’ll be well in excess of 88 per cent come the end of the tournament.”
Eight of the 15 matches of the ICC Champions Trophy have already sold out, with other matches, including England versus New Zealand down to their last few tickets.
This year’s tournament saw tickets allocated via ballot, with 417,000 applied for, and with such vested interest in the competition, Elworthy insists it will be best to date.
“The excitement for the ICC Champions Trophy is palpable. You can certainly feel the tension rising and the atmosphere is building incredibly,” he said.
“We’re also seeing that from a fan and spectator point of view. We’ve seen an incredible demand from a ticket perspective, the teams are arriving, so as we get closer and closer to the start of the tournament, the excitement continues to ramp up.
“It’s a fantastic time to be part of any tournament in terms of the build up at events like this.
“If you look at it from a cricket point of view, I think it’s going to be one of the closest fought tournaments in a long time.
“Looking at the eight teams that have been submitted, I don’t think I’ve seen a stronger group of players in a long time. I think we’re going to see some incredible cricket out there, and I’m really looking forward to that because ultimately, that’s what we are here for.”
The ICC Champions Trophy (1-18 June) and ICC Women’s World Cup (24 June – 23 July) will both see the best eight ODI teams in the world compete for glory in England & Wales this summer. Tickets available at icc-cricket.com/tickets
Article Source: icc-cricket.com