The majority of South Africa’s professional cricketers are currently enjoying some ‘down time’. Although some may be enjoying it less than others.
The future is exciting and scary in equal measure for the majority with the emphasis on earning power so obviously focused on the new T20 ‘Global Destinations’ League.
Be picked for one of the spots in the eight Franchise 15-man squads and you should be fine – theoretically.
The eight marquee international stars will be paid between US$200 000 and US$300 000 each, with the eight Protea stars assigned to each team not far behind.
That uses up a great deal of the player budget. By the time the salary men get down to numbers 8-15, there isn’t going to be much cash left.
But still, like journeymen golfers who scrape together a survival income on making a few cuts, South Africa’s cricketers will now have the chance to compete on a truly global platform and earn themselves a shot at the pot of gold which the IPL offers.
Sponsors have struggled for any meaningful exposure in the last couple of years. Momentum has done an outstanding job for the game with little reward and Standard Bank has rejoined the cricket family with an eye on what the future might provide.
They may both be rewarded handsomely if the T20 league even comes close to achieving the recognition and acclaim of the IPL and Australia’s Big Bash.
And it can, but it needs help.
The solitary factor which binds the IPL, Big Bash, Caribbean Premier League and Bangladesh Premier League together in their success is ‘bums on seats’.
The issue is not ticket prices, but television advertising income. And that only comes when broadcasters and advertisers see images of full stadiums.
So our question is this: How will we fill stadiums?
CSA confirmed last week that all eight Franchises would be based in different cities rather than double-up in high density areas like Jo’burg and Cape Town, which is a laudable and well-intentioned approach. As long as the people can be persuaded to come!
Benoni, Paarl, East London, Kimberley and Potch are all in the running to be host venues and every one of them would provide the atmosphere and visuals required to make a success of the event if they are full. Or even three quarters full.
I believe there needs to be a strong and well orchestrated drive to attract the people of the region to support the new teams.
Not just a random selection of colours for the new uniform and an animal to name the team after. What do our regions stand for? What is our history? Gold miners. Wine farmers. Diamond diggers.
If you are interested in the success of the tournament, I suggest you send your ideas to CSA.
Squads, formats and logistics are one thing, but without YOU the tournament will fail. So – send YOUR suggestions about what sort of team you would like to follow, and what would excite you, to: Cricket South Africa
And I promise we will both acknowledge receipt of your contribution and do what we can to make your dreams come true.