(L-R) Senior Sports Officer Vernon Springer, CPL Chief Operating Officer Pete Russell, Minister of Sports Glenn Phillip, Chief Operating Officer Damien O'Donohue, two members of Digicel staff, Minister of Legal Affairs Patrice Nisbett. SKNIS Photo
BASSETERRE, St Kitts (SKNIS) -- The investment by the government of St Kitts and Nevis to outfit the Warner Park Cricket Stadium with a state-of-the-art lighting and visual media system is already paying off.
The enhanced facility and modern infrastructure were important factors that appealed to the organizers of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) T20 cricket tournament to award nine of this year’s 30 games to the twin-island federation. These include the semifinal encounters as well the finals.
“It’s a very proud day for St. Kitts and Nevis and also the CPL,” stated Damien O’Donohoe, chief executive officer of the CPL.
In addition to the matches, several related events will be held. One such activity is a charity match featuring celebrity owners of CPL franchises, West Indies cricket legends and other popular personalities. Proceeds will benefit a local institution.
O’Donohoe added that a top international musical act and regional acts will be contracted to perform “as part of the finals week.” Local artistes will also be invited to share the spotlight.
The spinoffs for the economy are among the numerous benefits offered by what has been dubbed the “Biggest Party/Sporting Event in the World.” During the inaugural matches last year, an approximate total of US$105 million (EC$285 million) was generated for the six venues that staged games. This includes more than US$20 million for Trinidad and Tobago, the host country of the 2013 semifinals and finals.
“I expect that we are going to bring the same if not more to St Kitts and Nevis, which will be a huge opportunity for everyone here on the island to make extra dollars,” O’Donohoe said.
The CPL T20 will run from July 11 to August 16, 2014. Games in St Kitts and Nevis are scheduled for August 8 to 16.
Minister of Sports Glenn Phillip referred to past successes in hosting major international sporting events, including CARIFESTA VII in 2000, the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2007 and the CARIFTA Games in 2008. He said St Kitts and Nevis was ready for this new opportunity to display to the world the local culture, cuisine and personality.
“The ministry of sports of the government of St Kitts and Nevis is proud of the confidence already reposed in us and we are determined to continue to give our unwavering support to regional sport initiatives … as these continue to bring our West Indian people together and to showcase our rich combined talents,” Phillip stated.
He revealed that the upgrades to Warner Park are part of his government’s strategy to improve the skill of local athletes and facilitate an after-school programme being developed by the Department of Sports. The CPL and such activities were described as “icing on the cake.”
The CPL tournament will be contested by teams from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago. The draft of players takes place on April 4 and will feature 121 international players, five more than the 2013 total.