US matches to take CPL T20 to new level
GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC):
With matches set to be played in the United States market for the first time, Caribbean Premier League communications director, Peter Breen, believes the high profile Twenty20 tournament is set for a major take-off this year.
Since its inception in 2013, the tournament has been played across the six territories of the competing franchises, but organisers have slated fixtures for Florida during this year's campaign.
"It's very clear with the talent on display, both local talent and international talent have been contracted and that's a massive vote of confidence from the wider cricketing public that the Caribbean Premier League is unique, it's the 'biggest party in sport' as we all know," Breen told the Guyana Times.
"It's incredible vibe and an incredibly fun place, but with serious cricket on the field and people want to be part of that."
He continued: "It's a very exciting tournament to be a part of. I think it's a massive year for cricket full stop. It would have started with the Big Bash into the various little tournaments that have been happening and I think with the growth and movement to America that opens up a whole new avenue of possibilities for West Indies cricket and for CPL.
"There's a lot of work to be done to ensure we deliver an outstanding tournament because that's the level we want to achieve. We want to achieve an outstanding tournament and we're very confident in our abilities to do so and we know that it will be very, very competitive, particularly looking at the talent of the players who are going to be involved this year.
The CPL has been a huge success, turning out capacity crowds in most venues and managing to attract some of the world's finest Twenty20 players like Kevin Pietersen, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene.
Last year alone, the tournament experienced massive growth in numerical terms in attendance -- a development Breen said organisers were hoping to sustain.
"It's a tournament that's definitely growing year on year and we know that in terms of social media, in terms of the global viewership as well," he pointed out.
"Last year 302,000 came through the turnstiles for CPL- that was a growth of 44 per cent. It is lovely to think we can sustain that crowd, but I'm not sure if we physically can, given the size of the stadia, but it is definitely a step in the right direction."
For this year's edition, the likes of South African superstar AB de Villiers, New Zealander Brendon McCullum and Australia's Shane Watson, are all expected to feature.
The tournament is scheduled to bowl off in June, but organisers are yet to announce fixtures.