Wanderers, Kingsmead, Newlands, SuperSport Park, St. George’s Park and Boland Park will be the host venues for the six teams in Cricket South Africa’s new-look T20 league.
CSA announced the venues following an assessment by Nielsen Sport, a sports industry data analysis firm. While CSA has asserted that they own all the teams, the chief executives at the various bodies that run South Africa’s cricket grounds – Cricket Boland, Western Province Cricket Association, Eastern Province Cricket Board, Gauteng Cricket Board, Northerns Cricket Union and KwaZulu-Natal Cricket Union – will essentially be the team managers, appointing coaches.
“The key mandate given to all our Members in applying to be a host venue was the primary goal of luring new and traditional fans, other sports fans and the wider general public to our stadia,” said CSA chief executive Thabang Moroe. “This process was, in fact, started some time ago when CSA embarked on a National Stadium Grading Process of all our first-class venues.
“The various CEOs who have been running those stadiums will act as managers for these various teams. They will come out and announce the new names of the teams, the logos of what the teams will look like, and they are the ones who will then appoint the coaches, and the coaches will appoint their own support staff.”
The league itself has not yet been named, but Moroe explained during a pitch-side interview at South Africa’s T20I against Zimbabwe in East London that it would have a “uniquely South African” name.
“It won’t be called the Global T20,” he said. “I hope it’s a name that South Africans will be proud of. We just thought of a uniquely South African name.”
Moroe’s interview during the game was aired on SABC 3, the same channel that the T20 league games will be shown on after CSA’s announced a partnership with SABC, South Africa’s public broadcaster. That deal reportedly gave the SABC exclusive official broadcast rights for the Sub-Saharan region
The new league is set to launch on November 9, with the player draft scheduled for October 17. While the details of the draft are yet to be divulged, team names are expected to be announced in the next few days. But with under a month to go, the timeline to market and deliver the event is shrinking, especially as CSA and SABC are still yet to agree to the specifics of their deal and sign a full contract.
“We’re working very hard with SABC in terms of drafting the contract, we just want to wrap up the long-form agreement between us, the SABC as well as our other partners then we can make all the necessary announcements,” Moroe said at Buffalo Park.
“This is purely a step that we need to follow from a risk point of view, giving the disappointment of us having to postpone the league last year. The board has given me a strict mandate that before we announce anything, we have all the necessary agreements in place and they’re signed.”
Despite losses of over R200 million following the failure of the inaugural GLT20, CSA has said that its annual financial statements would still show “substantial reserves”. They will have to dig a little deeper into those reserves in their new league’s first season, for which they are budgeting for a R40 million loss.
While those sorts of costs are nothing unusual – it took years for IPL teams to start making a profit, the Big Bash League made a AUD33 million loss over its first five years, and the ECB’s new competition, The Hundred, is facing spiralling costs – CSA is also facing the threat of legal action from several owners of the initial GLT20. That may necessitate further costs before the new T20 league gets underway.