St Kitts shells out millions to host CPL games

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BASSETERRE, St Kitts — US$5 million is the figure insiders are giving as the amount paid by St Kitts to host the semi-finals and finals of this year’s Caribbean Premier League (CPL) .

Caribupdate News and Times Caribbean had both reported that CPL organizers had been pressuring Caribbean governments to cough up huge sums of money to host the games.

Grenada reportedly shelled out US$500,000 to host the official opening and some first round match-ups. Initial reports suggested that St Kitts shelled out US$2.5 million to secure the semifinals and finals. However, insiders have revealed that the figure maybe closer to US$5 million or over EC$13 million. This is a massive amount by Caribbean standards, especially in the struggling economies of the region.

The announcement of St Kitts as hosts for the finals caught everyone by surprise, as its Warner Park Stadium is the smallest venue in the region, with an 8,000 seat capacity. The decision by CPL organizers to host the semi-finals and finals in St Kitts had many scratching their heads. However, with an alleged US$5 million bid to host semi-finals and finals by St Kitts, it was not as strange a decision as most would think.

In announcing St Kitts as host, Pete Russell, CPL chief operations officer, said, “We cannot wait to bring the big-hitting excitement of the CPL to Warner Park. By awarding these prestigious matches to St Kitts and Nevis we are demonstrating that the whole of the Caribbean can celebrate and enjoy the successes of this global tournament.”

But many are questioning the wisdom in spending such huge amounts to host CPL matches. The Grenada government has been heavily criticized for their half million US dollar investment. But observers in St Kitts have said that the issue has been very quiet as the government has been mum on the amounts spent in order to secure the bid to host the CPL matches.

Reports suggest that, while St Kitts coughed up millions to host matches, other countries like Antigua and Saint Lucia balked at the idea of spending large sums of money despite both having franchises. St Kitts does not have a franchise or even a player in the CPL.

The first semi-final of the 2014 Caribbean Premier League takes place on August 14, with the second on August 15 and the grand final on August 16, all at St Kitts’ Warner Park Cricket Stadium.

The opening ceremony for the CPL is slated for July 11 and on the same day the Guyana Amazon Warriors will battle the Antigua Hawksbills, all in Grenada.

The following day, also in Grenada, the T&T Red Steel will open their account when they come up against the Barbados Tridents. The second match on that day will see the defending champions Jamaica Tallawahs against the St Lucia Zouks. This would then mark the end of the Grenada leg of the series and the teams will then host matches in their respective countries as well as travelling to their opponents’ venues.

Red Steel will play their second match of the tournament on July 17 against the Guyana Amazon Warriors at the Providence Stadium in Guyana. They then hit the road three days later as they face off with the Antigua Hawksbills at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.

After this, the action switches to Trinidad where the Red Steel play their first home game against Amazon Warriors on July 24. Two days later Red Steel battle Jamaica Tallawahs, also at the Queen’s Park Oval. And the following day the St Lucia Zouks come calling at the Oval.

On August 2, the Red Steel hit the road again when they make the trip to St Lucia to battle the Zouks at Beausejour.

Five days later, Dwayne Bravo’s squad comes up against Tridents in St Kitts and concludes their preliminary round play against the Antigua Hawksbills on August 9 also in St Kitts. The first semi-final takes place on August 14, with the second on August 15 and the grand final on August 16, all in St Kitts.

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