What works today will sell today, says cricket's Texan philanthropist

Having helped revive the game in the Caribbean, Sir Allen Stanford can use his commercial contacts to become a major global player, writes Jon Culley

Sir Allen Stanford, the Texan billionaire who has emerged as a potential ally for English cricket in setting up a Twenty20 competition to rival the Indian Premier League, has his sights on becoming a major player on the international scene after being seduced by the game's appeal and potential in the Caribbean, where he lives.

The 58-year-old entrepreneur, owner and chief executive of the Stanford Group, a wealth management company with clients in 136 countries, is based at St Croix in the US Virgin Islands, having moved to the region in the Eighties.

With a personal fortune estimated at around £1billion, Stanford was last year ranked the 239th-richest individual in America by Forbes magazine. He has substantial business interests in Antigua, including banking, hotels and the national airline. He funded a new hospital for the island and is held in such high regard by the Antiguan government that in 2006 they awarded him a knighthood, which was presented to him by Prince Edward.

Already a philanthropic supporter of golf, polo, tennis and sailing, he turned his attention to West Indies cricket after a lunch with Michael Holding, the former fast bowler, when conversation turned to the demise of Caribbean cricket. "When cricket, which is the glue that binds us all together, comes up, we go up with it, and when it sinks down we all sink with it," he said in an interview recently. "West Indies cricket was dying because we were trying to run it like amateurs."

He subsequently developed close ties with the West Indies Cricket Board and has already committed around £65m to revitalising West Indies cricket, including the establishment of an academy and a professional league based on the Stanford 20/20 competition he set up in 2006.

It features 20 teams, including the traditional power bases in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Guyana but also teams from Bermuda, the Dutch Antilles and the US Virgin Islands. Every game is played at his custom-built stadium outside St John's, the Antiguan capital. Trinidad & Tobago received £650,000 for winning this year's event, while Jamaica picked up £300,000 as runners-up. Each winning player received a £2,500 gold championship ring, similar to those handed to winners of the Super Bowl. The tournament is geared explicitly towards an American TV audience.

He is no fan of Test cricket – "I'm not knocking the game, I'm just saying what works today will sell today" – but although he pays the wages of many of the region's stars through his support he insists he would not withhold them from the Test team.

With the commercial contacts he has established in the North American market, as well as his now huge influence over West Indies cricket, he is in a position to help the Caribbean match India as a force in the game.

News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Sport
Jonathan de Guzman of the Netherlands and Willian of Brazil compete for the ball
world cup 2014LIVE BLOG: Hosts Brazil take on the Netherlands in third-place play-off
News
Tommy Ramone performing at The Old Waldorf Nightclub in 1978 in San Francisco, California.
peopleDrummer Tommy was last surviving member of seminal band
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Several male celebrities have confessed to being on a diet, including, from left to right, Hugh Grant, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ryan Reynolds
life...and the weight loss industry is rubbing its hands in glee
Voices
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
Arts and Entertainment
'Eminem's recovery from substance abuse has made him a more potent performer, with physical charisma and energy he never had before'
arts + entsReview: Wembley Stadium ***
Sport
Joe Root and James Anderson celebrate their record-beaking partnership
cricketEngland's last-wicket stand against India rewrites the history books
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice