For a sport that has often lacked for credibility and real-world business clout, the appointment of Catherine Carlson..., Paraag Marathe..., and Rohan Sajdeh... should be welcome news to cricket fans genuinely hoping to see the sport grow in this country.
The finalization of the inaugural USA Cricket Board of Directors last week marked the end of what was a long and tumultuous process, but also marked the beginning of a new exciting era for cricket in this country.
The calibre of the three Independent Directors is heartening to say the least. For a sport that has often lacked for credibility and real-world business clout, the appointment of Catherine Carlson, Senior Vice President Corporate Partnerships and Premium Activation, Orlando Magic; Paraag Marathe, President of 49ers Enterprises and Executive Vice President of Football Operations, San Francisco 49ers; and Rohan Sajdeh, Senior Partner and Managing Director, Boston Consulting Group, should be welcome news to cricket fans genuinely hoping to see the sport grow in this country.
All three individuals bring specific skills, expertise, and experience that can be directly applied to the USA Cricket Strategic Planning Framework.
Carlson, who will serve a three year term, previously spent over 10 years at Disney’s Wide World of Sports with part of her responsibilities being modified junior sports programs and sports tourism initiatives. During her time there she was also part of the team that worked with USACA on a stadium proposal and investment deal which would have seen thousands if not millions of dollars poured into the development of cricket in the United States. Unfortunately the deal collapsed because of administrative failings on the part of USACA. This experience will mean Carlson will come to this position with her eyes-wide-open with regard to the political challenges that come with trying to move cricket forward in this country.
Carlson is also an Australian native, a country that has cricket in it’s blood. Add to that her experience with junior sports programs at Disney, and she should contribute meaningfully to any discussions relating to the participation pillar of the Strategic Planning Framework.
Marathe, who will serve two years, has been with the San Francisco 49ers for almost 20 years, and currently serves as both President of 49ers Enterprises and Executive Vice President of Football Operations.
Amongst other things he oversaw the development of Levi’s Stadium, which included a major focus on fan experience, and garnered industry acclaim, most notably the prestigious honor of Sports Business Journal 2015 Sports Facility of the Year and Venue of the Year at the 2015 Stadium Business Awards in Barcelona, Spain. This expertise will be critical for USA Cricket as they look to chart a path towards having their own professional T20 league (which will include the construction of stadia), and the fan and market development pillar of the Strategic Planning Framework. His work in the player-contract negotiation space, which includes collective bargaining agreement compliance, will also be invaluable when contracted players become a reality for USA Cricket in the near future.
Rohan Sajdeh is another Australian native that played Premier Division field hockey in Sydney and professional cricket in England. He is the global co-leader for the Demand Centric Growth™ topic at The Boston Consulting Group, which means he spends a lot of his energy focussing on customer centricity. Specifically how digital technology, big data and analytics, can enhance business relationships with its customers. Again this expertise will prove invaluable for the fan and market development pillar of the Strategic Planning Framework.
One of these three individuals will be elected as the first Chair of the Board at the inaugural Board meeting in three weeks time. To have all three of these individuals sitting on the USA Cricket board, and applying their passion and expertise on cricket’s behalf, is simply groundbreaking for the sport in the United States.