T&T’s chances of hosting the semifinals and final of the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) continues to fade, despite the efforts of former West Indies batting star Brian Lara.
Damien O’Donohoe, CEO of the CPL told the media yesterday that this country’s bid to stage the event at the Queen’s Park Oval, Port-of-Spain were diminishing.
Speaking at yesterday’s launch of the tournament, held jointly with the close of the Digicel Harvard Cricket Clinic, at Harvard Sports Club on Serpentine Road, St Clair, O’Donohoe said: “From a T20 perspective we have put the Caribbean on the map. The CPL is creating jobs. It has a large television viewership. When you look at the success here in T&T, last year was beyond our wildest expectations. Unfortunately, due to the (falling) oil price and everything else we’ve been having a really hard time here.”
“If I was a betting man I would say that it is highly unlikely that the finals would be coming back to T&T this year. And that’s something that I am obviously disappointed about.
“I would love for the final to be here. There is nowhere like It. For the long term viability at this stage it’s very likely that it won’t be here.”
Even as the CPL grappled with settling negotiations for a host country, the cricket world was abuzz following an on-line media report that the Indian Premier League (IPL) board was considering a “mini CPL” this September in the United States, which could extend to the islands of the Caribbean.
While the Caribbean has been home to the CPL, it leadership team had been touting the idea of expansion into Northern America, starting in the US.
Asked if the IPL posed a threat to the CPL’s position and brand, O’Donohoe said, “It is interesting to see that the IPL is copying us, but America has always been a big part of our plans. From day one we had a number of discussions there and with the BCCI (Board of Cricket Control in India) to see if would could get Indian players involved in the CPL, and we’d love that.
“And it doesn’t even have to be the stars. It could be the younger guys. Again, the CPL gives players a platform to play on the world stage, but also to rub shoulders with some of the greatest names in the game.”
Asked to address the high unit cost per ticket for fans desirous of attending matches at the Queen’s Park Oval, which were between $450 -$560, the CPL boss said they were priced higher than other territories in the region where games were scheduled to be played simply because the cost of doing business in T&T was higher.