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Rediff News  All News  » Cricket » New York set to stage India ODIs

New York set to stage India ODIs

October 29, 2006 16:05 IST

For the 400,000 Indian expatriates in New York, it will be one of the hottest tickets in town, and not since Manchester United sold out the Giants stadium would interest be so fevered for a non-American sport held in the Big Apple.

Despite an already-packed ICC calendar, there are reports that India and Australia are set to play a five-match series in June 2007. Two matches would be played in Toronto, Canada, while the remaining three are scheduled for Brooklyn, New York.

Organisers behind the tournament revealed that meetings had been held with the ICC to determine a gap in the ODI calendar, while the five matches have been sanctioned with international status. Although no dates have been confirmed, it is believed the matches have been scheduled towards the end of the month, despite India's tour of England in July.

The Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, the first municipal airport in the United States, has been cited as the venue for the three New York games, which has recently undergone a $38 million renovation to house a new sports and entertainment complex.

Built by Aviator Sports and Recreation, the four hangars have been turned into basketball courts and ice hockey rinks, while the centre also features a fitness centre and an outdoor football field.

Although the 800 acre site features a cricket pitch, it is not part of the complex. However, Aviator Sports is ready to acquire the area and talks are underway for 17,500 temporary seats with an inflatable roof, creating what organisers believe would be into a world-class cricket ground. Such would be the interest in the three New York games that cultural events are also expected to be centred around the ODIs.

"The venue is in the heart of the Asian population of Queens and Brooklyn.

Thousands turning up at an abandoned airfield in New York City would get people thinking as to why an event such as this had not been thought of in the past," a source close to the tournament said.

"The final stages of planning depend on how much the BCCI's [Board of Control for Cricket in India] is prepared to pay the venue and management to host the event; this is undetermined and negotiations are still ongoing. The event needs to be a branded, annual event for it to be a success in the long-run."

It is also understood talks have been held with BCCI vice-president Lalit Modi over staging the ODIs, with the organisers believing that the timing is right, considering the Indian board has sold all of its global off-shore ODI rights to Zee Telefilms. The BCCI announced in April that Zee bid over $200 million to acquire the media rights for at least 25 games in venues such as the United States and Canada.

The move would prove beneficial to Zee in the long-run as it could sell the television rights to the North American market and receive a large proportion of their investment back from US pay-per-view.

Earlier this month, it was also reported that the USA Cricket Association (USACA) had been in negotiations with an international sports marketing company; a deal which would help the development of the sport and bring future international matches to the region.