SRi’s Managing Partner, Jonathan Harris, recently sat down with the CEO of WT20 2020 LOC Nick Hockley to discuss the upcoming ICC WT20.
Nick has 11 years’ major event experience having held senior roles with the organising committees of ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG). At LOCOG, Nick was Head of Commercial Negotiations, where he and his team spent 6 years developing and delivering the London 2012 commercial program, comprising 44 sponsors and contributing towards approximately one-third of the Games budget. At ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, Nick’s role was General Manager, Commercial & Marketing, where he was primarily responsible for marketing, ticketing and hospitality, helping drive total attendance at the tournament of over 1 million fans. Nick was appointed CEO of the ICC World T20 to be hosted in Australia in 2020, Nick has led the strategy that will see standalone Women’s Tournament in February/March 2020 and Men’s Tournament in October/November 2020.
Jonathan Harris: Can you tell us more about the ICC WT20 and your vision for the tournament?
Nick Hockley: ICC World T20 is cricket’s showpiece event in the fastest growing format of the game. The T20 format appeals to all ages and has been the driving force attracting new audiences to the game. With both women’s and men’s competitions and the diversity of Australia’s cricket loving communities, our aim is to deliver the most inclusive cricket events ever. We want 2020 to be a spectacular celebration that everyone can be part of.
JH: Where will it be held? What sort of attendances and visitor numbers are you expecting?
NH: Both the women’s World T20 and men’s World T20 will have broad national footprints. In total, the matches will be held across eight host cities and thirteen venues, giving as many people as possible the opportunity to attend. Over 1 million people attended the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2015 and we think ICC World T20 2020 can be bigger than that.
JH: Australia has seen an explosion of new content and major events with an increased investment in Women’s Sport in particular. Can you tell us a little bit about the decision to make these standalone events in the same year and same host country, and to give both tournaments equal billing?
NH: We have studied past World T20 competitions and other major events around the world. The FIFA Women’s World Cup has grown into a massive global event. With T20 being the predominant form of cricket for women, coupled with the breakthrough success of last year’s 50 over Women’s Cricket World Cup in England, at which the final was played in front of a sold out Lords’, it was a relatively straightforward decision that the Women’s World T20 should be promoted and staged as a major global event in its own right. With the final of the women’s World T20 to be held at the MCG on International Women’s Day in 2020, we have the opportunity to aim for a new world record for the highest attendance at a women’s sporting event.
JH: We have just seen another hugely successful Big Bash tournament in Australia. meanwhile the ICC ODI World Cup has a longer history in the game. How does the WT20 ensure it is its own product and build its own heritage, and how does it compete with these existing products?
NH: It is cricket’s strength that it has a range of formats with differing appeal to differing audiences. We are seeing a trend with other sports also looking to introduce shorter entertainment-led formats. Where T20 has been so successful here in Australia and around the world is attracting younger audiences and specifically families to attend matches together. We hope to see lots of families, from grandparents to toddlers, enjoying World T20 matches together in 2020 and creating memories that mean they will be fans of all formats of the game for life.
JH: Alongside this interview you are launching the recruitment campaign for your Senior Management Team for the LOC. Can you tell us a little bit about the team you are looking to build?
NH: We are looking to build a world class team that buys into the vision of a spectacular celebration that everyone can be part of. It’s critical that the team understands the power of collaboration and the importance of working in partnership with all of cricket, our wonderful host cities and venues and the whole community to maximise the opportunity for all involved. Major events like WT20 are big start-ups and I’m also looking for fresh and innovative thinking, so that we can help cricket and Australia enhance its global reputation for delivering the best events.
JH: Finally, an off-topic question…. As a Sports-centric search firm we are constantly asked for advice by individuals outside of the industry who are looking to make the move into Sport. Prior to LOCOG you were a Chartered Accountant and held senior corporate finance roles at PwC. Any tips to making this transition?
NH: Sport is a big, complex, fast moving business with the fan at its core. I’m a firm believer that business skills are highly transferable. At World T20 we will be looking to build a diverse team with a broad range of complimentary skills. So I would encourage people to do their research, reach out and speak to people in the industry and be able to clearly and simply articulate how they can add value by applying their experience.