The inaugural Limacol Caribbean Premier League has been hailed by organisers and players as a “massive success”.
The tournament ended on Saturday night in front of a full house at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad with the Jamaica Tallawahs crowned as the champions after beating the Guyana Amazon Warriors by seven wickets with 15 balls in hand.
A spectacular fireworks display, confetti, champagne and pyrotechnics followed by a free concert featuring soca artistes Super Blue, Iwer George, Denise Belfon, Blaxx and Black Stalin, put an exclamation point on what has been an event jam-packed with entertainment, excitement and sport.
It was the culmination of 24 matches over 26 days involving six franchise teams from across the region, with those matches played out at packed venues.
“We have exceeded every benchmark we set for the Limacol Caribbean Premier League when we embarked on this project,” said the Limacol CPL chief executive Damien O’Donohoe. “By every measure there is no doubt it has been a massive success.
“For the first time in many years venues in the Caribbean have been consistently packed to the rafters and the atmosphere the fans have generated has been incredible.
“The staggering public support has been matched by unprecedented commercial support, the like of which this region has never seen for a cricketing event, with local and international business joining the party.”
Even before a ball was bowled 37 commercial partners were on board, including nine league sponsors, an apparel partner and sponsors for each of the six franchises as well as four national tourism boards also supporting the event.
On top of that, high profile individuals from the worlds of entertainment and business also got involved and threw their weight behind the Limacol CPL with Hollywood actors Mark Wahlberg and Gerard Butler taking equity shares in the Barbados Tridents and Jamaica Tallawahs respectively while Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group backed the Antigua Hawksbills.
“We have had a global audience for the action through outstanding broadcast coverage on television and radio, and the Limacol CPL has also enjoyed a significant presence on social media through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube,” said O’Donohoe. “I cannot thank the fans enough for showing up in their numbers each night and showing the world how we do cricket in the Caribbean. Caribbean cricket fans are like no other on the planet and their support of this Tournament played a huge, integral part in its success. We are grateful for, and inspired by their love for the game.
“In addition, the commercial partners and players as well as the staff who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes, and the army of volunteers enlisted at each of the venues, have all contributed to the final result and every one involved deserves thanks for their efforts.
“The result has exceeded our expectations and now our task is to build on what we have achieved this year, ensure the Limacol Caribbean Premier League goes from strength to strength and that it becomes even bigger and better next year.”
Ajmal Khan, chairman of Verus International and founder of the Limacol Caribbean Premier League said: “When we set out on this journey we asked everyone involved to come and play – and that is exactly what has happened.
“We wanted the Limacol Caribbean Premier League to be the biggest party in sport and there is no doubt we achieved it.
“The players did their part by producing a host of memorable performances, the fans came and enjoyed themselves in huge numbers and our sponsors backed the event like never before in this region.
“The Limacol Caribbean Premier League has shown both the West Indian public’s enduring love for cricket and the limitless potential for growth and success that there is in this region.
“Within an incredibly short space of time we have established the Limacol Caribbean Premier League as something that everyone – players, fans and commercial partners – wants to be involved in.
“Our task now is to ensure that we build on this success starting with the second edition next year.”
Jamaica Tallawahs captain Chris Gayle summed up the feelings of players from each of the six franchises when he said: “It has been a great tournament and I am really happy to be here at the end.
“I give thanks to the fans for turning out and supporting us. I am very happy with the CPL and hopefully next year it will be even bigger and better – and I will be here again.”
Ramnaresh Sarwan, the captain of the Guyana Amazon Warriors added: “I was fortunate to play in the IPL a few years ago but I think this (Limacol Caribbean Premier League) is right up there and I can only see it getting bigger and better.” (LCPL)