The Caribbean Premier League (CPL) is in talks with the Pakistan Super League to create an annual series of matches between the winners of the two leagues. The CPL hopes that the idea will give the league more context and ultimately make it more commercially viable.
It is envisaged that the series, which could be launched next year, would feature three matches between the champions of the two leagues, to take place just before the 2018 CPL season.
The United States is viewed as an attractive location to stage the games, given the large number of cricket fans from both Pakistan and the Caribbean there.
“It would make the most sense, to have a three-game series over four days,” said Pete Russell, the chief operating officer of the CPL. “You have to look into all the practicalities – the commercial viability of it. The US would be a great place to play games like that. There’s definitely a feeling here that there’s a great Pakistani community, and obviously a great Caribbean community as well, so it’d be an interesting place to play it, wouldn’t it?”
The potential size of the TV audience for such matches means that the broadcasting rights could be of significant value, and therefore help to make the CPL, which has lost money in each of its four full seasons and expects to do so again this year, self-sustainable.
“Why wouldn’t we do it? It seems to be a good opportunity. We are always looking to evolve here and that is definitely something on our wish list,” Russell said.
“It’s a big thing to sort out but we’re a progressive bunch here and would like to move things forward in that regard because it gives an identity – whoever wins this tournament is going on to something else. That was what was so good about the Champions League.”
Although the Champions League was discontinued in 2014, Russell hopes that the CPL can work more closely with other T20 leagues, and can eventually stage tournaments with the champions of several countries.
“There’s lots of opportunities to look at the champions of CPL – they could play the champions of PSL, the champions of Bangladesh etc. It’s logical. It’s also what the fans would want to see because it brings the best of the leagues together. The challenge is when do you do it, and how do you do it? Those are challenges that I’m sure everyone is looking at. From CPL’s perspective, it’s definitely something that we think would be great. The champions of all these leagues would make for a great spectator sport.”
One major problem with the Champions League was the number of players eligible to play for multiple teams. In the case of the proposed series between the CPL and PSL champions, it is understood that the CPL favours players representing the team from their home leagues if there is such a conflict. Who players from other nations would represent if they had a choice could be more problematic.