Organisers of the imminent Caribbean Premier League say the tournament will be more than just about cricket on the field.
In fact, they are saying that the CPL will have a dramatic impact on the flagging economies across the West Indian region.
CPL founder and chairman Ajmal Khan said in a release that the goal of the CPL was to develop and stimulate the economies in the region and in addition to providing employment opportunities currently being undertaken in the six franchise countries, the CPL would also present a wealth of training opportunities for both staff and volunteers.
He said there would be a trickle-down effect into other areas of the workforce, and possibly other cricket-related fields.
“The potential to grow local economies and provide job opportunities for the people of the Caribbean through the CPL is significant and not to be underestimated,” he said, adding he hoped that young people and trades persons around the region would get involved because the possibilities for personal growth and future employment were limitless.
Organisers have indicated that the CPL was going to be a staple in the region for a long time, and as the tournament grew in popularity and possibly included more franchise countries, all of those countries would have to look at developing their infrastructures in order to accommodate the demand from a tourism perspective. The follow-on effect from this would be sustained economic growth.
The CPL organisers said that the introduction of the tournament had already drawn the attention of major investors and corporations from around the globe who were interested in coming to the Caribbean to see what the region had to offer apart from good cricket.
“They will be investing in the region and also working with local companies to develop their businesses,” Khan said. “The opportunities that are available through these connections are far reaching and long lasting.”
While Khan has been outspoken about what he believes the CPL will do for the Caribbean, Digicel’s group marketing operations director Kieran Foley said his company’s association with the sporting initiative promised long-term benefits to, and a significant impact on, not only every area of cricket but the people of the Caribbean and the region’s economy, tourism products and financial services.
“CPL’s goals and objectives for its investment in the Caribbean align closely with what Digicel has already been doing in the region since we started operations here in 2002, and what we continue to strive to do for West Indies cricket as its main sponsor since 2004,” explained Foley.
“Digicel has a vested interest in the Caribbean. We are here for the long term, hence our multi-year agreement with the CPL. Our strategy for this relationship is simple: to ensure that the CPL initiative makes such a huge impact in the region that the shockwaves are felt for years and generations to come,” he added.
Foley pointed out that the CPL was not a flash-in-the-pan tournament, and that Digicel saw itself as helping to create a legacy for the game that current players and West Indies cricket fans could pass on to their children.
In their release, organisers said the CPL had a fantastic line up of both regional and international players who all had a fan base that would come from across the region and around the world to see their cricket icons play. They added that at a time when tourism in the region was experiencing a decline, having such first-class athletes in the Caribbean during a traditionally slow season was a boon to this vital sector.
The initiative is already getting the thumbs up from some regional governments.
“Jamaica is excited to be one of the CPL franchise countries, and looking forward to the impact the tournament will have on not only Jamaica’s cricket development but the country on a whole,” agreed John Lynch, Jamaica’s Director of Tourism.
“Summer time is low season in the Caribbean, and governments and tourism operators around the region are always seeking ways to stimulate the economy, whether through events or attractive hotel and airfare packages. The CPL has made our job easier by giving both regional and international tourists an incentive to travel to Jamaica. We already have a strong tourism product to offer but the CPL will definitely be an attraction that will add to their overall experience,” Lynch stated.
The region should also be prepared to welcome home members of the Caribbean Diaspora, those West Indians that have migrated to the US, UK and Canada, and are always looking for opportunities to return home and reconnect with their family, friends and culture, CPL is the perfect opportunity.
There are approximately four million Caribbean nationals living in the USA, many of them avid cricket fans. CPL organisers said they expected to see many of them coming home to see their favourite cricketers playing in their homeland.
In the official release Digicel and CPL noted they had cultivated dynamic relationships with regional and international trade partners, and they planned to capitalise on those associations in order to encourage more business in the Caribbean.
“Digicel and CPL both know from experience how attractive doing business in the Caribbean can be, and we know there are some great opportunities for more investors,” Khan said.
“From the man selling food in the stands and the fan waving a flag to the franchise sponsor and the young cricketer at the crease facing his first ball in an international competition, we want to make the CPL as successful as possible for all stakeholders involved. To that end, the CPL and Digicel will attract quality investment to this part of the world because in the end, the Caribbean benefits,” he noted.
The CPL is slated to run from July 29 to August 26 and the franchise teams will be based in Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Jamaica. (WG)