Wow! The 2019 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup was simply epic, both as a tournament and, from our perspective, as a Sports Presentation tour de force.

Red Sky At Night Events pulled out all the stops and, now the summer is over and the dust has settled in our offices (we had the unique distinction of delivering Sports Presentation for two World Cups this summer), here’s a reflection on 10 key learnings from planning and delivering the biggest Sports Presentation program of the year:

1 – Be In It To Win It

OK, that’s a cliché, but we really gave everything to this tender and created multiple collaborations with trusted partners to table our most innovative and comprehensive proposal ever.

We won out in a global multi-agency tender and were awarded the entire Sports Presentation program for the biggest global sporting event of the year. Amazingly, almost all our initial proposals were carried through to the tournament.

2 – Love The Volunteers

CWC2019 recruited a staggering 1,200 volunteers across England & Wales. And hundreds of ‘Cricketeers’ were assigned to RSANE to assist with our many fan activations and ceremonial duties on matchdays.

‘Cricketeers’ were vital to the smooth-running of our program and we went the extra mile to train them and embed them into the RSANE venue teams. It paid off. The commitment, enthusiasm and energy of our ‘Cricketeers’ was a tournament highlight.

3 – Scale Up Fast

The scale of this tournament was daunting. 1.2M cricket fans attending 48 separate one-day internationals across 11 test-class cricket stadiums; not to mention broadcast audiences in excess of 1BN! We were able to scale-up rapidly and put in place a core team of highly experienced venue managers and support staff…then bring-in a dedicated logistics team, content specialists, VT crews to supplement our own crew, not to mention additional back-office support.

Having fielded the same core team of vastly experienced event managers the past 10 years and having recently delivered Sports Presentation for the 2017 Women’s Cricket World Cup, RSANE had a major advantage off the bat.

4 – Digital Watershed

CWC2019 and the ICC planned a highly innovative digital program for the tournament and this enabled us to break new ground in the way digital was integrated into Sports Presentation.

Working with ICC’s Digital teams, we helped develop a matchday venue blog for users of the CWC app and we provided content managers to publish live content into the ‘venue blogs’ throughout each matchday.

In addition, our hard-working content managers helped ICC aggregate user-generated content using Stackla, reformatting fan images and messages for transmission onto the stadia giant screens. The more fans saw their images on screen, the more were uploaded to twitter and Instagram.

Finally we scoped, tested and delivered the deployment of a fleet of ibeacons at every matchday; the ibeacons sent useful and localised information via Bluetooth to fans with the CWC app who walked into the radius of each ibeacon, e.g fans walking past info hubs at local train stations received push notifications with links to walking route maps to the stadium

5 – Sometimes Simple Works Best

While our Sports Presentation program broke new ground in terms of digital integrations, sometimes the most simple elements became evergreen favourites at every matchday.

From the 25,000 laser-etched apples we distributed on walking routes to our hands-on skill zones (a huge hit with younger fans), ‘big button’ high-five-your-team totem poles and giant Graffiti bats….very simple, very scalable and hugely interactive.

6 -Dial It Up To 11!

Maintaining an energised atmosphere during each 6-8 hrs of matchday play is always a challenge for cricket. Especially so for CWC2019, with many new fans attending and with so many young fans getting their first taste of international cricket.

In between play, our program simply didn’t let up and fans responded back with massive energy. Highlights included:

  • Our ‘Cricketarist’ – a session guitarist on the pitch-side hot-spot podium cranked out well known upbeat riffs whenever wickets fell…. played on unique cricket-bat electric guitars we commissioned for the tournament
  • Localised VT Stings – For each one of our 11 host cities, we filmed 4s, 6s, 50s, 100s and other scoring video stings against iconic local landmarks.
  • In-Vision Hosts – Accompanied with a roving film-crew, our in-vision hosts were everywhere on matchdays, interviewing fans and celebrities from our pitchside hotspot podium and hosting our fun interval game ‘HowzHat’
7 – Video Production Was Pivotal

We brought our A-game here. And we had to, as the video or VT production requirements were immense.

Our in-house VT Production team created multiple VT ‘shorts’ and stings for broadcast ‘in-bowl’ on stadia screens – everything from cricket rule explainer VTs to ‘scoring’ stings to player profiles, plus live feeds from our in-vision hosts and fan vox-pops outside and inside the grounds.

We also created high quality ‘Fan Energy’ edits (like the one at the top of this post) before and during the first innings of every one of 48 match days; to broadcast during the interval. All our VT production was integrated with the wider social and broadcast delivery of the tournament across multiple partners.

8 – Sweat The Detail Schmetail!

The production requirements for our Sports Presentation program were immense, from creating a 20ft high replica trophy to tour all 11 host cities to building our own designed hashtag printers and mosaic printer kiosks to giant CWC2019 branded deckchairs, half-cricket-ball seats, hundreds of face-painting fan-brushes and huge quantities of kit for our venue teams’ production offices.

In addition, our planning and execution of complex and highly sensitive opening flag and trophy ceremonies and mascot walk-ons were rigorously rehearsed on the morning of every matchday with our teams of Cricketeers.

9 – Think Big

The ICC ambition was to deliver ‘the world’s greatest celebration of cricket’. We wanted to meet and exceed that challenge.

Having a number of show-stoppers in our program were essential and these included:

  • Face The Pace; a unique 360 AR film which enabled fans, wearing Oculus headsets provided by our Cricketeers, to experience what it’s like to be a test-class batsman facing down a world-class fast bowler in a packed Oval stadium
  • Hashtag Printers; we took the bold and highly cost effective decision to buy all the tech outright and build our own hashtag printer units. This decision paid-off in spades, with the hashtag printers immensely popular with cricket fans throughout every matchday
  • Look To The Sky; Not only did our opening ceremony at the Oval feature an acrobatic Aerialist (suspended 40ft high from a helium balloon) deliver the trophy to pitch-side, but for the Lord’s final we arranged for the The Red Devils Freefall Display Team to parachute from low altitude for a spectacular delivery of the match day ball to the delight of fans
10 – A Design For Success

CWC2019 created an impactful and highly adaptable brand design for the tournament. We had to apply this design template without exception across the vast array of activations we created.

We partnered with Sports Presentation Design expert and long-standing RSANE collaborator, Clare Knowles of Total Design. Her design flair, appreciation of production methods and attention to detail were invaluable and ensures we applied the CWC2019 brand to the letter.

Want to find out how Red Sky at Night Events can help you? Contact us


©Stand By – Official CWC2019 Tournament song by Loryn & Rudimental. “Stand By”, the Official Tournament Song is available to listen and download from Spotify, Google Play, iTunes and others