Fri | Sep 22, 2017

CPL chief excited by US expansion

Published:Thursday | June 16, 2016 | 6:27 AMJermaine Lannaman

Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Twenty20 chief executive officer, Damien O'Donohoe is hoping that in taking the tournament to the United States, doors will be opened for it to be bigger and better.

The league, which bowls off in two weeks' time, will for the first time be staged in Fort Lauderdale, Florida at the Central Broward Stadium with a total of six matches down to be played by its six competing teams.

"One of the biggest moves that the league will make this year is playing in the United States," O'Donohoe told The Gleaner.

"The US is one of the biggest sports market in the world, and to know that we will be making strides to tap into it is really exciting for us."

"All the teams with their top international players will be involved, and it should be a fun-filled couple of weeks."

The Florida leg of the tournament, which will be the final leg before the start of the semi-final play-offs and final, is set to bowl off on July 28 with perennial title challengers Guyana Amazon, led by New Zealand's Martin Guptill, going up against the Kieron Pollard-captained, Barbados Tridents.

O'Donohoe, in the meantime, who has also expressed pleasure at the pace of ticket sales for Florida, is also hopeful that expansion will increase television viewers worldwide.

"We will be going there with hopes of growing the league, particularly as it relates to television rights," he explained.

"The Caribbean television market alone is such a small market, and difficult to break even with, we need to expand. The hope therefore is that with the United States now a part of the mix, we will be able to improve our television offerings."

He added: "The league going to Florida will also give Caribbean diaspora cricket fans, as well as diaspora fans from other cricket playing countries the chance to witness a number of their favorite players up front and personal."

The CPL, now in its fourth year, is scheduled to bowl off with defending champions Trinbago Knight Riders, captained by Dwayne Bravo, taking on the Darren Sammy-led St Lucia Zouks at Queens Park Oval in Trinidad and Tobago.