If our sports business team at Dubai Sport City could have one wish it would be that the planning for a Twenty20 international lasts the same time as the match itself.
Travails of holding a one-day match
If our sports business team at Dubai Sport City (DSC) could have one wish in cricket it would be that the planning for a Twenty20 international lasts the same amount of time as the match itself. That would be great: just three hours of work beforehand and then the chance to sit back and watch some of the world's best cricketers in action at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium (DICS).
The reality, of course, is a million miles away from that wish. And in the case of the WorldCall T-20 Challenge presented by Bank Alfalah, more than six months' effort from the start of negotiations has gone into trying to ensure that when Pakistan and England go head-to-head on February 19 and 20, the event is a success from every perspective. That planning involves everything you can think of as well as, perhaps, plenty of other things that might never have occurred to you.
It's about arranging car parking and traffic management to cope with the arrival and departure of 25,000 spectators for each match; it's about accrediting more than 2,000 people to work at the venue; and there are numerous meetings with teams of security officers, the ever-willing Dubai Police and the Roads and Transport Authority. Then there are the commercial arrangements, with sponsors to be found, tickets to be priced, produced and sold and catering and hospitality requirements to be met. The host television broadcaster, in this case TEN Sports, have their requirements as well, as do the dozens of reporters who come to cover the matches, so we have to ensure facilities are available and working.
And, perhaps most importantly of all, there are the cricketing requirements - the needs of the two teams on match and practice days. Add to that hotel accommodation and practice arrangements for those teams and the match officials and also ensuring the venue complies with International Cricket Council (ICC) standards in terms of a world-class playing area, dressing rooms and facilities. But how do we get the teams to come here in the first place? Our job at DSC is to try and secure as much top-class action as possible at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium and to do that we are in regular contact with cricket boards all over the world and the ICC to offer our services as a venue and Dubai as a location.
Our ability to attract the top teams depends on their existing commitments within the ICC's Future Tours Programme (FTP). We look at that plan and see if we can slot our matches in and around those commitments. As an example, it suits England to be here next week because it is an ideal location en route to their tour of Bangladesh. And in the case of Pakistan we are working with their board to assist them to stage some of their FTP matches at a time when it is proving impossible for them to host teams at home.
The other part of the equation in getting teams to the UAE is finance and what guarantees we can offer them. Those financials are confidential but they do vary from team to team because, as you might expect, some teams are more popular with sponsors and broadcasters than others. We have to cut our cloth according to that popularity. Ultimately the stadium is just one piece - albeit a very big one - of the giant jigsaw that makes up DSC and the many other pieces, including the ICC Global Cricket Academy, are falling into place one by one. The pitches and outfields around the site have been laid, practice areas are in the process of completion and the GCA will be operational this year.
Macky Dudhia is the general manager for sports business at Dubai Sports City @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org