GEORGETOWN, Guyana -- Several Caribbean Premier League (CPL) cricket matches will be staged in Guyana between June and July, when there is expected to be a flamboyant display of sportsmanship and culture.
This was confirmed on Thursday, as Tourism Industry and Commerce Minister, Irfaan Ali met with representatives from CPL and Digicel. The latter is a major sponsor of the event.
“Guyana has the best potential, we have the largest Diaspora who love cricket… we are going to pull out all of the stops as we are committed to promoting this,” Ali said.
The CPL is set to bowl off in July, with franchises based in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago.
Ali acknowledged too that the sheer magnitude of this event will help to strategically align ‘Destination Guyana’, as the country will be featured in the extensive marketing and promotion of the CPL in the Caribbean and the wider world.
Also on the table for discussion was the lineup of players and the potential of the ‘best selection’ to attract spectators from across the globe.
Digicel Group’s marketing director, Kieran Foley, noted that one of the prerequisites and highlights of the matches being staged in Guyana is that the country will be able to showcase and display “real Caribbean culture”.
Digicel was named as the first global sponsor for the inaugural 2013 tournament and beyond in a multi-year deal. As previous sponsors of the West Indies cricket team and the Digicel Caribbean Cup the brand has considerable experience with sponsoring cricket and other sporting events throughout the Caribbean.
“The CPL is a perfect fit for Digicel. We’re huge fans of West Indies cricket and this is a great opportunity for us to invest not only in what will be an amazing event, but also in the young cricketers who will benefit from around the region,” Foley said.
Meanwhile, the CPL operations manager also pointed to the immense benefits Guyana is set to derive from the games being staged here
He said too that the CPL will only be successful with the cooperation of the tourist boards of the supporting countries and the backing of officials spreading awareness about the event.
Ali concurred with this position and assured that the government of Guyana and the tourism ministry will collaborate in various ways, including linking websites, advertising, etc, to make the most of the “golden” opportunity.
The visiting duo reassured that ticket prices for the matches, to be staged at the Guyana National Stadium, will be affordable and “packaged” to suit the multitude of fans that will descend on the venue.
With the matches now looming, the tourism minister announced that the event will be aggressively marketed during the coming weeks and months as planned trade shows in New York and Canada are staged; this he stressed will be done in collaboration with the private sector.
The CPL official also outlined that the tournament will ensure regional players as he outlined the makeup of the six franchise teams, explaining that each team would have 15 players, at least six of whom must be local players from that franchise country.
In addition, at least four of the players must be under the age of 23. The remainder of the team must consist of regional and/or local players and a maximum of four international players.
Franchise players include Chris Gayle, his fellow Jamaican teammate Marlon Samuels, Sunil Narine; Dwayne Bravo; West Indies team captain Darren Sammy; and Kieron Pollard.
This year’s CPL will start on June 30 and concludes on August 24.