South Africa plans global T20 league, targets Indian investors

Cricket South Africa (CSA) has announced the launch of its new 8-team franchise-based tournament called T20 Global League. Newspapers in various countries, including India, carried the advertisements for the new league.

South Africa already has a six-team T20 competition in the country. But the proposed league will be completely different from the existing league.

CSA may already have secured interest from some of the big sponsors who are willing to back the league. Getting some of biggest companies from India could be the key to the early success of the league.

According to the advertisement, the new tournament starts at the beginning of next year’s cricket season. Both domestic and international international players will be part of the league.

To make the process of selection of teams transparent, one of the big four auditing firms will be vet the process. The auditors will overlook the process of submission of expression of interest to the identification of successful bidders.

December 16, a public holiday in South Africa, could be chosen for the finals, according to ESPNCricinfo.

Cricket South Africa CEO Chris Nenzani and CEO Haroon Lorgat had informed ICC of the plans in Dubai this week. According to the ESPNCricinfo report, the early indications are positive that there will be global support for the event.

If the proposed league by South Africa is successful, some of the money into Indian cricket could move out. But South Africa is not the only country eyeing Indian sponsors for cricket leagues.

After the success of the Indian Premier League, a number of international T20 leagues have sprung up around the world. Big Bash League (BBL) in Australia, Caribbean Premier League in West Indies are already running. Next week, the second edition of the Pakistan Super League takes off. The summer will also see England’s own T20 league taking off.

Interestingly, BBL also has a women’s championship, the only major women’s T20 league in the world.

Most of the T20 leagues will need to connect with the Indian sponsors for their success. Importantly, they will need to find a way to connect with the South Asian audience, where cricket has a very strong following.

For example, Hindi commentary for BBL helped in the current year as it reached out to new untapped markets in India.

The timing of the advertisement is being seen as important. After the Supreme Court removed the top brass, a new committee has been appointed to run the BCCI. Perhaps, CSA could not have done this when N Srinivasan or Anurag Thakur were running the BCCI.