MoneyGram, a global payment provider, is putting on an unusual contest this year, as it has in past years, to test its customers' knowledge of the game of cricket.
Those who have heard of the game usually attribute it to the British Isles, where historians have traced its roots to the 16th century.
In many parts of North America, many people don't know anything more about the game than its name and where it comes from. However, MoneyGram has unearthed and cultivated an enthusiastic following of cricket aficionados willing to show up in North American cities to test their knowledge of the game.
Some of these cricket fans will turn out July 29 in Toronto for the first in a two-phase set of challenges. Top contestants in Toronto will move on to a final round in New Jersey on Aug. 12.
Other first-round contests are planned for San Francisco, Dallas, Chicago and New Jersey.
“It's really taken seriously,” Ivy Wisco, MoneyGram global marketing strategy leader, told Toronto Business Daily, explaining how the trivia game works.
Wisco said cricket masters and cricket experts will be on hand to make sure questions and answers are accurate. Regional contestants will answer 35 questions on paper and must correctly answer 25 of them to get to an oral round that is round-robin elimination.
The contest is open to contestants 18 years and older, who have registered online.
“We’re welcoming people to go to the regional rounds,” Wisco said. “We encourage media to go there and cover it.”
TV Asia, she said, will be broadcasting the event. Wisco said that part of the reason MoneyGram can get such large turnouts is that cities like Toronto, San Francisco and Dallas are what she called “hubs” of the South Asian community, which include many frequent MoneyGram customers and cricket enthusiasts.
Participants will be competing for a $10,000 cash prize. Anyone in or near Toronto or other included regional cities can show up to get a crash course in a national game that is relatively obscure beyond its particular fan base.