Cricket South Africa selects venues for new T20 league

Cricket South Africa (CSA) has named the six stadia that will host teams in its new T20 League, as the clock counts down on preparations for the domestic tournament.

The list has been compiled following an independent assessment process carried out by the Nielsen Sports agency. The selected venues are: Bidvest Wanderers Stadium (Johannesburg), SuperSport Park (Centurion), Kingsmead (Durban), St. George’s Park (Port Elizabeth), PPC Newlands (Cape Town – pictured) and Eurolux Boland Park (Paarl).

“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 buzz phrase for the independent assessment was the ‘Fan Journey’ which starts with the fans’ arrival at the stadium and includes the full package of transport options both to and from the stadium and traffic management, ease of access, safety and security arrangements, catering, and interaction activities and opportunities specific to the fan experience.

“From our observations of other T20 leagues around the world and competitions in other sporting codes it has become clear that the fan experience is all important. Our research has shown us that the match day experience is enhanced by fans ‘leaving their seats’, either to engage with other fans in different areas of the stadium, to partake in various sponsor and event activations or to cheer and support their favourite team/player.

“We have every confidence that the plans our members have come up will enhance these expectations for the T20 League.”

The new league, which has yet to receive a formal title, is scheduled to launch on November 9, with a player draft set for October 17. However, there still remains a number of uncertainties in what has been a tortuous path to a new tournament for CSA.

In October 2017, the inaugural season of CSA’s T20 Global League was postponed for one year just days after the national governing body disclosed that it was set for a significant loss on the launch edition. The T20 Global League was due to include eight franchises, seven of which would have been foreign owned.

In June, CSA joined forces with rights partner, pay-television broadcaster SuperSport, to announce the launch of a new “world-class” Twenty20 competition. However, SuperSport pulled out of this venture one month later. CSA last month announced a three-year deal with public-service broadcaster SABC to back the new version of the league, but a full contract has yet to be signed.

Image: Newlands Cricket