REMEMBER the rip-off packages forced on England supporters flying out to the West Indies to watch the last World Cup? For next year's ICC Twenty20 tournament prices have been cut drastically, and it looks as though the Caribbean business community has learnt a lesson from the diminished revenues of 2007, especially in the hotel sector.
And those stifling ICC ground admission regulations have been scrapped. Music and spontaneity will be back, and spectators should be left with more money to spend. Package prices announced for next year's ICC Twenty20 tournament have been pitched at about half the levels on offer for the World Cup, and the organisers, based in St Lucia, say that the official hospitality programme is already proving to be a crucial part of the tournamentís planning and delivery.
The packages are available both locally and internationally for the venues at St Lucia, St Kitts, Barbados and Guyana, with the West Indies Cricket Board designing, managing and implementing an official hospitality programme themselves for the first time. With whole region suffering during the economic downturn, the cricket will be very welcome on April 30-May 16.
The organisers have emphasised that the customary West Indian sounds and sights at every match, including conch shells, flags and drums, will be encouraged, not banned. The public ticket prices have been set low to focus on filling every ground with home fans and tourists alike.
At the Super Eight stage, every qualifying team will play in both St Lucia and Barbados. A suite customer will be able to watch every Super Eight team play, as well as both semi-finals (St Lucia) or the final (Barbados). With the exception of two match days in Guyana, every game day will feature double-headers, offering twice as much cricket for half of the price.
The tournament director Ernest Hilaire said: "The ICC World Twenty20 West Indies 2010 will offer great value to all spectators through competitive ticket prices, and the corporate hospitality sector will be no exception."
The hospitality programme will be centrally managed from the tournament headquarters in St Lucia, making use of an extensive network of international official hospitality sales agents around the globe to market, promote and sell official hospitality packages to prospective customers.
Tom Roche, another official, said that it was not just in the provision of a good hospitality programme that the region would be benefiting commercially. "As part of the management and delivery of the programme, local resources will be secured and some large contracts will see many local companies benefiting hugely from the presence of the tournament," he said.
"Event companies, caterers, hostesses, advertisers, printers, florists, signage manufacturers and a host of local administrators and suppliers will all be a part of the delivery and provisioning of the programme that will see at least US$1.2 million pumped in to the economies of the Caribbean."
The following tournament information has been issued by the organisers:
*On average, pricing for this tournament is almost half the cost of similar packages sold for the World Cup in 2007:
*A dining package to the final in Barbados will cost US$649 for what is essentially the same package in the same facility at the same venue in 2007 when the cost was US$1,299.
*A dining package to a semi-final in 2010 will cost US$449 (US$749 in 2007).
*A suite package in Guyana will cost US$800 for six matches over four days (US$2,200 over six days in 2007)
*A suite package in Saint Lucia costs US$1,500 for eight matches and both semi-final matches (US$2,600 for six matches and one semi-final in 2007).
*A suite package in Barbados will cost a customer US$1,800 (standard) or US$2,400 (premium) for 10 matches and the final (US$5,000 for six matches and the final in 2007).
Any parties interested in becoming an official sales agent are invited to email firstname.lastname@example.org for an information pack.