The idea of spending a long hot day sitting in the sun and watching cricket is something that appeals to many people in the Caribbean. The climate is ideally suited to the game and there are many islands where cricket is viewed as the national sport. In recent years, there has been a shift in how people want to see cricket as the Twenty20 format of the game has become increasingly popular around the world.
The Caribbean was keen to bring their own Twenty20 tournament to the fore and the Limacol Caribbean Premier League sometimes referred to as the CPL or the CPLT20, was devised and launched in 2013. The first year’s title was clinched by the Jamaica Tallawahs who managed to overcome the Amazon Warriors from Guyana in the grand final. The event was such a huge success that it was signed up for another season.
The 2014 campaign will be played out in July and August of 2014 and see the Tallwahs and the Amazon Warriors joined by St Lucia Zouks, Red Steel from Trinidad & Tobago, the Antigua Hawksbills and the Barbados Tridents.
Cricket brought economic benefits to many islands
In an era where every country around the world is keen to bring in income and generate excitement, the Caribbean islands are no different. This is why there was great joy at the amount of commercial and economic success that the first season had. More than 240,000 spectators attended games in 6 different countries and the TV viewing figures around the world were phenomenal. It was reported that the event was watched in more than 36 million homes around the world, providing a high level of focus to the sport in the Caribbean and to the Caribbean itself.
An independent report into the success of the opening year of the CPL found that there was an economic impact of more than US$105m from the opening season. The islands that benefited were St Lucia, Trinidad, Jamaica, Guyana, Barbados and Antigua. While the sports teams and related industries benefited economically, so did hotels, restaurants, service industries, financial service sectors, transport, communication and other general service industries. The fact that a 26-day tournament can have such a positive impact on some islands ensured that there was also going to be a repeat season and many are hopeful that the CPL will be around for a very long time.
Of course, in any sporting context, it is wrong to solely focus on many. The cricket on show was found to be highly attractive and the nature of the Twenty20 games lends itself to picking up casual viewers and an audience that wouldn’t define itself as being fans of cricket. There is no doubt that cricket is a sport that is popular but has room for growth on many Caribbean islands. The development of the CPL will surely help cricket to become a much stronger sport in the Caribbean.
For information about the 2014 tournament, visit the website for the Limacol Caribbean Premier League.