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American Cricket's Real Field Of Dreams

By Lloyd Jodah

Dec. 5th, 2009
The Central Broward Regional Park, including the Stadium and its sidefields, cost about $70 million to build.From the beginning it generated a lot of opposition to the spending of so much public money on cricket. For this reason the facilties were designed and promoted as "multi-purpose" allowing sports such as soccer, rugby and field hockey as well as musical events.Revenue generated by all sports brings in less than $500,000 whilst the cost of running the Park annually is over $ 1.6 million.

Central Broward Park wicket.

Built with the hope of attracting games from the 2007 World Cup held in the Caribbean the Stadium did not get any matches. Floridian, and American cricket at large, has not supported the Park - the CBRP gets more usage from soccer and rugby and makes more money from these sports than they do from cricket. Local cricketers could pay what amounts to $4 a man per game to play in the CBRP, on beautifully manicured outfields but don't regularly. What is the cost of not supporting the Park and Stadium ?

Yet Soccer and Rugby Teams fill the Park with their games, families, food and music whilst local Cricketers don't take advantage of immaculate facilities with clean bathrooms.The only significant cricket events at the CBRP were those put on by Cricket Council USA in 2008, and the Stadium was being widely described as a "white elephant".

Then in March 2009, things changed when the first American College Cricket Spring Break Championship was held in the CBRP on the sidefields. The New York Times spent 3 days covering the College Championship with a huge article and Video - both of which went National and International. Adopted by Sports Illlustrated as a "must-see video", highlighted in the Video was the Cricket Stadium at Central Broward Regional Park as a "Field of Dreams" for the Organizers of the Championship, and the players.

Planning for 2010, American College Cricket had an option to move its Championship but its commitment to supporting the Stadium was one of the reasons for staying there. When Stadium/County officials lowered the price American College Cricket took early advantage by reserving the Stadium for 3 days and nights in March 2010. Now the recent agreement between USA Cricket and New Zealand Cricket could finally bring International cricket to the Stadium. Bringing the 2009 USACA National Championship to the Park in October was another step in the right direction. The FCA Tournament in November and the US Cricket Open in December are new and welcome additions to the Stadium's cricket calender.

Still we must be on guard. As recently as August 2009, there was another movement to make the CBRP into a Track and Field Park, particularly for the Florida Caribbean Games. Appearing before the County Commissioners to speak on behalf of retaining the Stadium as a cricket facility were Allan Gopie ,a local cricketer and radio personality, Miramar City Commissioner Yvonne Garth, Broward County Commissioner Diana Wasserma-Rubin, and the Lauderhill Commissioner Joseph Eggelleston, and American College Cricket Vice President Nino DiLoreto. Here is an exerpt from Nino DiLoreto's Presentation:

"The CBRP, the City of Lauderhill and Broward County received valuable exposure as a result of the Championship. We did all of this without asking for any money from the County. As a matter of fact, the Championship contributed much needed revenue to the Park and surrounding businesses.

American College Cricket will once again hold the 2010 American College Spring Break Championship ( March 17-21) at the CBRP. Deposits have been made .I am happy to report that we'll have a field of 24 Universities from throughout the United States and possibly additional International Universities.

South Florida is a world class tourist destination. It has played host to BIG TIME EVENTS such as Super Bowls, World Series, Breeders Cup, All Star Games, etc. Now we can add that South Florida will be the home of the American College Cricket Spring Break Championship. This event will attract hundreds of Cricket student athletes as well as thousands of fans. The Championship is a win-win event for South Florida, Broward County and Cricket fans. To accomplish this we need the Cricket facilities to remain intact."

Presentations by DiLoreto,Gopie and the County and City Commissioners mentioned were successful and cricket remains a prime raison d'etre of the Central Broward Regional Park and the only Cricket Stadium in the USA and Canada.

It truly is a Field of Dreams - OUR Field of Dreams...are we going to support it or let it be taken away?

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