Page: Lifting standards way to draw T20 fans
OPINION: Canterbury Cricket's decision to ditch the Wizards name and the red and black colours from their Twenty20 team is one of the most ridiculous ideas put into practice in 2014.
The team will now play the shortest form of the game in purple and be known as the Kings.
Canterbury Cricket chief executive Lee Germon is apparently trying to make the team stand out from their four-day and 50-over teams, which will still play in red and black and simply be called Canterbury.
Germon said the move was based around gaining traction for the T20 side, attracting new fans to the game and trying to rescue the declining interest in the sport.
He cited the booming Big Bash League in Australia and Indian Premier League as examples where traditional colours have given way and the people have flocked to the games.
This appears a shortsighted view on the part of Germon.
Canterbury can change their name to anything they want and wear all the colours of the rainbow, but it won't put any more bums on seats.
Crowds have been terrible in recent years, and Timaru has played its part in that, but the matches are poorly advertised and there is only a smattering of decent international players turning out.
Not all the games are televised and only a handful are played at night.
Most are played at smaller grounds that would never hold 30,000-plus like the Big Bash or IPL matches can, and most importantly, the standard of play in New Zealand cannot match what we see in those competitions.
Tom Latham and Peter Fulton can play in purple or red and black but people won't buy tickets based on a name or the colour of their shirts.
The King logo looks like something you would see in an arcade game in 1996.
The All Blacks draw crowds because they win, the Big Bash draws a crowd because it's Australia's No 1 national sport. The same can be said for the IPL.
Canterbury Cricket would have been better to spend the money they will spend on this rebranding exercise on marketing their games or trying to sign a big name international player. The signature of a Dave Warner, Shahid Afridi or Corey Anderson would get more people buying tickets than a name and strip change.
The Wizards name worked, it had a Christchurch feel and the Kings are too close to a pack of cards with the Auckland Aces already in the competition.
Germon is right that something needs to be done to make domestic cricket relevant again, but this is not the answer.
- The Timaru Herald