Hong Kong Cricket Sixes

Five-year plan: World Sixes key factor in growing the game

Return of the popular tournament and innovative T20 Blitz part of a five-year plan to generate more revenue to boost the sport in Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 October, 2017, 9:17pm
UPDATED : Friday, 27 October, 2017, 10:48pm

The resurrection of the Hong Kong World Sixes, which kicks off on Saturday after a five-year absence, is part of a greater plan by Cricket Hong Kong (CHK) to increase ­revenue and grow the game in the city.

The governing body has gone all out to ensure the tournament takes place for the first time since 2012, snubbing the government’s Mega Events Fund and instead reaching out to potential long-term partners to help revive the event in an era of the fast-food ­formats such as T20 and social media.

CHK director Jonathan Cummings said the Sixes and the Hong Kong T20 Blitz is part of a five-year strategic plan to showcase the city as a centre for cricket in East Asia.

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“It’s not a risk but based on a solid five-year plan in which the Blitz and the Sixes will hopefully play an important part in helping to generate revenue so that we can invest in growing the game in Hong Kong, which is important for the future of cricket here,” said Cummings.

“We are hoping that the two tournaments can enhance Hong Kong’s reputation in global cricket as a centre for innovation, and how we put on events, and that businesses will see the value of aligning with our tournaments.

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“The Hong Kong Sixes is just the first step in that drive.”

Lack of sponsorship scuppered the Sixes from 2013 to last year but CHK decided this year to go ahead with the event, based largely on the success of the Blitz in March.

The tournament has already found broadcast partners around the world with a potential reach of 180 million, though CHK are realistically looking to exceed the 12 million views from the Blitz.

The Sixes returns to its traditional venue of Kowloon Cricket Club, a relatively small ground where the spectators are close to the action and help to generate an electric atmosphere.

Watch: Behind the scenes with the Hong Kong Cricket World Sixes team

“We hope that we have two days of cricket excitement, that the fans enjoy the tournament and become ambassadors for us by telling people around the world about the Sixes and ­enhance the brand.

“That’s the goal for the weekend. As I said, it’s just the first step in our five-year plan and we are excited about the prospects.”

The action on the field is crucial to ensuring a successful tournament and defending champions South Africa are ­determined to provide fans with quality entertainment.

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Team manager and former Proteas international Ashwell Prince said: “It’s exciting to be here. You guys have had the local Twenty20 tournament and it shows that the game is growing in Hong Kong. We realise that [CHK} is doing a lot to popularise cricket in Hong Kong and we are excited to be a part of that.”

Aubrey Swanepoel, who played in the 2011 tournament and is the only squad member with Hong Kong Sixes experience, said: “I was very excited when I got the call to come to the Hong Kong Sixes. I was looking forward to coming back. We have some of the young boys here who are ­eager to play on the Hong Kong wickets. We just can’t wait to get on the park and start playing.”