MINISTER of Sport and Youth Affairs Shamfa Cudjoe said under normal circumstances the Government of TT would have been discussing the upcoming 2020 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) T20 tournament, but those plans have been halted as organisers deliberate changes to the CPL format because of covid19 which may impact TT financially.
The CPL organisers are aiming for a September start to the tournament, but it is still uncertain as the region continues to battle the virus. CPL chief operations officer Pete Russell said the organisers are considering different scenarios to make the tournament a reality this year.
The CPL is thinking of omitting international players from this year’s tournament because of health concerns and restrictions on international travel.
CPL and the TT Government signed a three-year agreement in 2018 to host the semi-finals and finals, therefore 2020 is the final year of that contract.
Speaking about Government’s arrangement with CPL, Cudjoe told Newsday, “I know that we have an arrangement with CPL to have three years of CPL and this year would have been our final year in this current arrangement. Around this time we would have been on the table negotiating with CPL to what takes places this year and looking forward to the next season of CPL.”
A CPL press release in January gave details of the financial impact on TT during last year’s tournament. “The Hero Caribbean Premier League has announced that the 2019 tournament’s economic impact for TT was over $30 million US.”
It was an increase from the 2018 tournament. “The 2019 event, which took place between September 4 and October 12, created a total economic impact of US$30,347,003 in the country. This represents an increase of 18 per cent on the 2018 figure, with the tournament staging five group games, the semi-finals and final as well as two historic women’s (T10) matches in the country,” the release continued.
The figure, collated by world-renowned researchers YouGov Sport, has been calculated using organiser spend, visitor spend and media value.
The release, explaining further how TT benefited from the event, said, “In addition to that economic impact figure the Hero CPL employed 489 staff in TT and filled 10,642 hotel rooms during the 2019 event. With the final taking place in the country there was a 15 per cent increase in arrivals into TT in October compared to the same month in 2018.”
Another option the CPL is considering for the 2020 tournament is maintaining social distancing during matches at 25 per cent capacity and hosting matches in one or two venues in the region instead of six. The crowds in Trinidad (Queen’s Park Oval and Brian Lara Cricket Academy) and at Providence Stadium in Guyana have set the standard for the most electric atmosphere in the CPL with packed crowds. TT will lose out as it is uncertain if matches will be played in Trinidad.
On less people attending matches Cudjoe said, “I know many people look forward to CPL not just for the game but also for the lime. We like to call CPL the Biggest Party in Sport, so I don’t know what that experience would be like as the Biggest Party in Sport with no partiers.
“I know the people of TT and the energy of TT is what bring the real vibes for CPL, yes alongside the sport and the players, (but) the entertainment, the crowds, the chanting, the cheering to me, is part of the life of CPL so to me it would be interesting to see what becomes of CPL this year.”
Cudjoe is still eager to see the CPL take place. “Of course I am very optimistic. I am hoping that we get over this hurdle and we can get back to some state of normalcy soon, but that is not my say. We all just have to monitor this coronavirus situation and do what is in the best interest of the people, of the fans, of the players and even of the sport, make the best decisions and then we move on from there.”