In a bid to stay awake and remain occupied during one of the many rain breaks during my days covering cricket in June, I recently found myself surfing the pages of the ECB’s website.
I wasn’t in search of inspiration, or looking for anything in particular to write about, but what I chanced upon restored some of my faith in the ECB’s marketing department.
Among all the England player features and banal press releases I found a link to www.lazybarwalkers.co.uk which, to all intents and purposes, is an ECB/Friends Life t20 competition to win a glamorous bartender, be it male or female, for a night at your chosen t20 event.
The page gives cricket fans the chance to have their very own Lazy Bar Walker (or LBW, geddit!) for a fixture of their choice rather than face the usual queue for an over-priced, tepid and invariably frothy offering in a wobbly plastic ‘glass’.
It’s always been a bugbear of mine that, because cricket venues are generally so badly organised, many fans spend vast amounts of theirtime at t20 matches queuing for drinks and burgers – so much so that many of them barely get to see a ball bowled.
When you consider that at some venues, say Kent for instance where it costs £27 to sit in the Frank Woolley Stand for a t20 bash, then it seems a bit rich to expect all these good folk to then spend half their time standing in line for the bar.
So hurrah to the ECB for the initiative and, dare I suggest it, maybe the county clubs might also consider starting their own individual LBW schemes along similar lines?
At a time when t20 attendances are dwindling, an LBW team at every ground would not only boost income and bar sales, but punters are much more likely to go home happier and far more certain about returning for the next match.
And, as Lord Sugar would no doubt testify, repeat business is the best business you can get.