Last update: 13-Dec-2013 3:20 am
Friday, December 13, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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O’Donohoe declares CPL a success
Damien O’Donohoe, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Limacol Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Twenty20 Tournament is already declaring the inaugural event, now in its final stage, a success. In a T&T Guardian interview the CPL official said the quality of the championships was proof that the new feature in cricket was sustainable. “I have been blown away by this first year of the Limacol CPL. I could not have imaged that we would have been where we are today, in year one. We are probably where we should be in year three at this stage to pack the stadiums. To have people come out in the tens of thousands is overwhelming,” he said.
O’Donohoe added, “The tickets and the gate receipts answer those questions. We have been over 90 per cent for every single game of the CPL. There is no doubt that we have a fantastic product now to go forward with in 2014. We look forward to a bigger and better tournament.” A preliminary look of the numbers from viewership of the matches, O’Donohoe revealed, was also cause for encouragement. Six teams took part in the preliminary round of the tournament. They were: Antigua Hawkbills, Barbados Tridents, Guyana Amazon Warriors, Jamaica Tallawahs, St Lucia Zouks and T&T Red Steel. Hawksbills and Zouks were sent home. In the first semifinal held at the Queen’s Park Oval, Port-of-Spain, on Thursday night, cricket lovers saw T&T Red Steel led by Dwayne Bravo, take their exit by table toppers Guyana Amazon Warriors, captained by Ramnaresh Sarwan, who emerged with a seven-wicket win.
Last night’s match-up at the same venue, Chris Gayle’s Jamaica Tallawahs was scheduled to play Kieron Pollard’s Barbados Tridents following which the winner will meet the Amazon Warriors in today’s final. O’Donohoe said, “We have been lucky to have Mr Dennis O’Brian and Digicel step in to become part of the CPL, because we realised very quickly that the investment required was going to be (US$) multi-millions and there is not many people or companies that can step in to put that type of money into sport anywhere.” He added, “We’ve got big plans for expansion, but I think first and foremost we need to have a full de-brief in terms of year one, because although there have been many greats things, we have also learnt many lessons.” On the issue if attracting more teams O’Donohoe said the CPL management had received varying offers from countries from within the Caribbean and further afield interested in competing.
“Once we get through of de-brief in September, we’ll know more then. This is something that we got into for the long term with our partners the West Indies Cricket Board. It was 50-year deal that we struck. This is about re-igniting cricket in the Caribbean. I firmly believe we have done that. The gate receipts say it all,” he said. Asked what plans the CPL had to illustrate its corporate social responsibility O’ Donohoe said looking after cricket at the grass-root levels has already been foremost in the mind of the CPL executive. “…To develop the children. When we looked around the region, the kids, their heroes were in the NBA and the NFL stars. What we wanted to do was to change that because we firmly believe that the Caribbean is the natural home of T20 cricket, so we wanted to inspire children. We have a programme that will start in January with Mikey Holding that will work with schools and youngster around the region to help them become like the legions before them,” said O’Donohoe.
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