dale-v_c_holness_web.jpgLAUDERHILL — Central Broward Regional Park and Stadium has been tapped as the venue for the two-day Digicel 2012 West Indies vs. New Zealand Cricket Series starting June 30.

Organizers say the two historic Twenty20 matches could draw some 16,000 fans from around the world.

The T20 series, as it is called, is a new and increasingly popular, though controversial, form of the sport in which each team bats for 20 overs or pitches and each period or inning lasts for just 75 minutes.

This format, which allows for a much faster pace, was first introduced in England and Wales, with the game usually completed in about three and a half hours. The traditional game can last five days; shortened versions had previously lasted one day.

Broward County Commissioner Dale V.C. Holness, a driving force behind efforts to popularize the largely British Commonwealth sport in the region, said 800 hotel nights were booked even before rickets went on sale June 1.

“This will also bring tremendous live worldwide coverage and exposure to Broward County. We’re working to stimulate the economy in Central Broward by including the participation of the county, businesses and civic leaders,” Holness said in a statement. 

The series will be played under the auspices of the West Indies Cricket Board, governing organization for the sport in the Caribbean.

WICB Commercial Manager Nelecia Yeates welcomed the opportunity to bring international cricket to the United States.

“We are confident of overwhelming support for the matches. Our team is known globally as one of the most charismatic and entertaining teams, especially in the Twenty20 format, and they will face strong competition from New Zealand, so the matches are certain to be thrillers and we are ripe with anticipation,” Yeates said.

The matches are also being supported by Friends of Central Broward Park Inc., a non-profit organization formed to promote and bring economic development to Central Broward.

Boward commissioners voted to co-sponsor the event, which allows for the use of county resources to promote events that serve a public mission.

“Cricket is a very popular game, especially in Central Broward. This will grow international trade. People will stay in local hotels, eat at local restaurants and spend money here,” Commissioner Ilene Lieberman said in the statement.

Commissioner Chip LaMarca added, “This provides an opportunity to put Broward County on the map for cricket worldwide.”

Tickets may be purchased through Ticketmaster or at the Central Broward Regional Park and Stadium box office, 3700 N.W. 11th Pl., Lauderhill.

Dale V.C. Holness