This study examined the Twenty20 cricket competition launched in England and Wales in 2003. The findings identified that the competition has many of the characteristics which current diffusion models believe to be critical success factors. However, most research focused on American and Australian sports, and two key contextual factors are excluded: both timing and weather have been critical factors in the competition's success.
diffusion of innovation
new product launch
The Twenty20 cricket competition is a shortened, faster version of traditional four-day and one-day cricket. It was launched in England and Wales in 2003 in an attempt to reverse dwindling interest in the sport. Games were to be completed in three hours and were augmented with off-field entertainment.
The study reviews literature concerning the launch of new sporting products and services, and investigates the critical success factors behind successful launches and also factors that led to failures. Most of the research conducted has been in American and Australian sport, with academic models developed in these countries, particularly America. The authors believe the models to be useful, but felt there were likely to be differences in England and Wales because of the sporting culture and calendar.
Attendance figures were gathered from a number of sources to quantify the success of the competition in terms of spectator numbers. These clearly show that crowds are a lot higher for this form of cricket. A short open-ended questionnaire was developed from the literature review in order to investigate the likely critical success factors. This was then sent to the marketing departments of the 18 counties who participate in the competition.
The secondary research and the comments received from respondents identify a number of factors that were attributed to being critical to the success of the competition. These include the use of market research and the application of marketing techniques, media coverage, a reputation for being fast and entertaining, and the length of the game. These factors lie within the three strategic factors affecting the diffusion rate model (Higgins & Martin, 2006).
However, the model excludes two important factors that are contextual to cricket: competition timing and the weather. There are two elements that respondents felt were important in the competition's timing: that the games are at a convenient time for spectators to attend, and that they avoid competition from other sports, particularly football. The implementation of this timing strategy might have helped gain increased audience interest. Other contextual factors that were identified as impacting on diffusion and requiring further investigation are saturation, in terms of length of the competition, and crowd involvement.
The research acknowledges the usefulness of the three strategic factor model as being an effective framework for sports marketers to plan new product introductions. However, the authors propose that the model should be expanded to become a four strategic factor model, with the fourth factor taking account of contextual issues.
The research was qualitative, and only industry experts from counties' marketing departments were interviewed. The primary research did not take account of spectators' opinions, and further research is recommended to obtain their views on the competition and the factors that motivate them to attend matches.
The authors investigated the issues involved in making a new sport successful. What factors determine whether people are likely to attend a new sporting event and become interested in it? Compared to other forms of cricket, the competition appears to have been successful at bringing in spectators, but what have been the critical factors in this success? …