On the heels of news that Jamaica could lose its Caribbean Premier League (CPL) franchise to another Caribbean island, information released by CPL suggests that more people are watching the annual T20 league than ever before.
According to CPL, the league that began in 2013 has continued its fantastic growth during the 2018 season with combined broadcast and digital viewership of over 200 million for the first time in the tournament’s history.
This represents the sixth successive season that the tournament has seen year-on-year growth in viewership numbers.
“To pass the 200 million viewership milestone, and to have a sixth successive year of increased viewership, shows where our tournament sits on the global stage,” said Damien O’Donohoe, the chief executive officer of Hero CPL.
“We continue to showcase the best that the Caribbean has to offer, and we can’t wait for 2019 to carry on this upwards trajectory.”
The largest audience share was in India where combined viewership on Star and Hotstar was at over 70 million. The next largest market was the Caribbean where there was a total viewership figure was just over 50 million for the tournament that took place between August 8 and September 16, 2018.
There was also significant growth of viewing figures for the tournament in the United Kingdom and the USA. In the UK there was a more than 200 per cent increase in viewing numbers with the tournament broadcast on Sky Sports for the first time.
There were almost two million viewers in the USA, which represents a more than 20 per cent increase on 2017.
There was also a further increase in the digital viewership for the tournament, with 44 per cent of the total audience coming through various digital channels, which is a testament to the innovative nature of the Hero CPL’s online offerings and a creative use of social media.
However, the numbers bear telling to Jamaica, who stand to lose the franchise by the end of this month should the government there not throw greater support behind the franchise that reportedly had an economic impact of US$10.5m from just two games played in Jamaica last year.
The Tallawahs played their remaining ‘home’ games in Florida.
But despite this reported growth of the tournament, some players are reportedly not receiving all their remuneration. Only last month Barbados Tridents allrounder Dwayne Smith lamented the fact that he had not been paid by his franchise. Smith charged that he and other team members were yet to be paid all monies owed from the 2018 campaign, and said the situation could hurt the image of the popular tournament.
“I think it’s something that the CPL should have sorted. They said the last time it happened, it wouldn’t happen again. They gave us their word that they would make sure that this doesn’t happen and it’s still happening,” Smith said.
During the 2017 tournament, there were also money issues. A number of Barbados Trident players and management suffered delays in receiving outstanding amounts due to them ranging from US$10,000 to more than US$100,000 following the tournament’s conclusion in September of that year.