Monday 18 January, 1800-1930: Allister Webb, Manchester Metropolitan University
Why history matters in contemporary sporting events: A case study of the bidding process for international cricket in England and Wales


The growth of interest in the battle to stage high-profile sports events reflects both the efforts, often made by public bodies, to secure them and the difference between the claims made in their favour and the realities that result. Yet, the success in recent times of popular local campaigns in resisting and halting bids for some major events raises important questions about the extent to which these events are valued by the people who are expected to live with them. Furthermore, the development of new and, to some, unwelcome and unnecessary formats, raises the possibility that what may be seen as traditional ideas of identity in relation to sport, and even the very structure of the game as we know it, are at risk of being lost.

What is often absent from the discussion of these issues is an understanding of the place of history in this process. This paper will use the cases of two cities, Cardiff and Leeds, to argue that history is too often overlooked within these debates and events have also fed into broader narratives of identity. It will also discuss the impact of globalizing tendencies on cricket to date, suggesting that, while it is too early to know how the Hundred competition will impact on English cricket, the effects of previous globalizing tendencies have perhaps been overstated.