H&K favourite to win cricket pitch

The England and Wales Cricket Board is close to appointing Hill and Knowlton to a pounds 200,000 fee account to raise awareness of next year’s cricket World Cup, which will be held in England.

The England and Wales Cricket Board is close to appointing Hill and

Knowlton to a pounds 200,000 fee account to raise awareness of next

year’s cricket World Cup, which will be held in England.



The board’s director of corporate affairs Richard Peel confirmed that it

viewed pitches from H&K, Hammond Communications and Karen Earl last

Friday.



The decision to hire a PR agency follows the board’s appointment of

advertising agency HHCL and Partners last month to broaden the game’s

appeal with a pounds 1 million ad drive. It wants to change traditional

images of cricket as old-fashioned and attract younger audiences. This

week’s vote by the MCC to continue to prohibit women from becoming

members has been viewed by many as indicative of how out of touch some

decision-makers in the sport are.



The board has 500,000 tickets to sell for the 42-match World Cup which

will be played at grounds around the country from May 1999. The PR

campaign will begin with the unveiling next month of the World Cup

trophy and will progress with a blueprint for individual counties to

implement at local level. The brief includes targeting fashion, travel

and youth titles as well as acting as a central press office for the

tournament.



The fees for the account cover basic UK work but may be extended if and

when foreign elements are included. For instance, qualifying games are

being held in the Netherlands and PR may be required for these

games.



The board has increasingly recognised the value of PR since its

formation in January 1997 from the merger of the National Cricket

Association and the Test and County Cricket Board. Last November it

appointed Richard Peel as its first director of corporate affairs and

last summer hired Westminster Strategy to advise on broadcasting

rights.



Westminster has focused on the board’s wish to auction the rights for

England’s home test matches, which are protected by the 1996

Broadcasting Act. Reports have suggested that BSkyB is close to winning

the broadcasting rights to the World Cup.



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