Cricket Canada looks to Boundaries North partnership to build on its on-field success

“This is a globally recognized brand,” said Cricket Canada President Rashpal Bajwa. “Having a partnership with them brings huge exposure that Cricket Canada needs in Canada right now. The sport is growing. We just needed partners like that.

Cricket Canada has had such major sponsors as CIBC, Etihad Airways and Scotiabank in the past, but not recently.

Bajwa says about 60 per cent of Cricket Canada’s funding comes from the International Cricket Council, the world governing body. His contribution depends on Canada’s performance on the field and its work off it to develop the sport.

A small amount comes from Sport Canada, with the rest coming from sponsors, fundraising and the GT20 tournament in Brampton, Ontario.

Last year, Cricket Canada awarded 12 full-time and six part-time player contracts. They pay a modest amount but help pay the bills, with a higher salary when they go on tour.

The deal with Coca-Cola, a global sponsor of the ICC and World Cup, is the first major announcement of Cricket Canada’s commercial partnership with Boundaries North, launched last April.

“This is the first time, but we look forward to the announcement of a number of other major brands joining us and supporting Cricket Canada in the near future,” said Rahul Srinivasan, CEO of Boundaries North .

Bajwa says he expects Boundaries North to play “a vital role in the growth of cricket in Canada.”

The Cricket Canada board of directors is a volunteer affair, he emphasizes. “These are guys who have the expertise,” he said of Boundaries North.

The top dogs in world cricket have Test status and are considered full members of the ICC. Then there are associate members with one-day status — like Canada — and simply associate members.

“In the associated cricket world, the commercial elements can sometimes be difficult for the governing bodies to really step up and dedicate resources,” Srinivasan said. “So it’s our responsibility to create conversations with brands, negotiate commercial deals and, most importantly, shine a spotlight on Canadian cricket because so many good things are happening in our sport.”

It’s a relationship that evokes memories of the much-maligned deal between Canada Soccer and Canadian Soccer Business.

In what Srinivasan calls “a multi-decade deal,” Boundaries North pays Cricket Canada an annual fee in exchange for its commercial rights to the men’s and women’s national teams. There are then profit sharing mechanisms on the income generated.

“Both sides reap the benefits as the sport continues to grow…We have structured it in a way that both sides share the benefits,” Srinivasan, former business manager of the Toronto Arrows, told TODAY now departed, Major League Rugby and a former Canadian youth cricket international.

“In many ways, we also learned from their deal,” he added, referring to the CSB deal.

Srinivasan is quick to move away from the CSB comparison, for obvious reasons. Cricket and football are at very different stages of development in Canada, he says.

On the one hand, due to the lack of infrastructure, it is difficult to host games in Canada. Srinivasan says talks are underway with several municipalities on possible locations.

“Actually, you don’t need to have a huge stadium for key international teams to come and play,” he said.

“Once we have a venue, we will have a very, very healthy cricket schedule against the top nations which I think the broadcasters will be very keen to show on linear television,” Srinivasan added.

Boundaries North also invests in things like training camps for Canadian teams.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in February. 23, 2024 al. Before that, they lost to Malaysia in the final of a 50-over tri-series also featuring Hong Kong.

The matches were warm-ups ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup League Two matches which begin next week against Scotland and the United Arab Emirates in Dubai. The eight-team league will take three years.

CBC broadcast some warm-up matches. “A big victory for us,” Srinivasan said.

WEIC (Women’s, Emerging, Inclusive and Community) Sports United, the investment group behind Boundaries North, started with rugby but is looking to expand into other sports “at a similar stage of growth and with similar needs” .

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published in February. 23, 2024

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

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