Guyana is in danger of losing the opportunity to host the semi-finals and finals of the much-anticipated Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) T20 cricket tournament, as officials failed over the weekend to announce this country as the host.
This was confirmed by a source close to the Government, who noted that the date set for making public the hosts for the semi-finals and finals of the 2016 tournament was set as April 30 (Saturday) but nothing was forthcoming. According to the source, the failure by the Guyana Government to give any firm commitment to the hosting of these matches, could even see this country losing the rights to host other matches in the Group stage of the tournament slated to be played at the National Stadium at Providence. This will be a massive blow to the cricket-starved Guyanese populace, and the array of spin-off benefits to local businesses.
This is a dramatic turn of events, as Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) is now at the forefront in the race to host the 2016 CPL finals.
The Guardian Media had reported weeks ago that Guyana got the nod to host what is called the “finals weekend” and this was backed up by two government ministers in the land of many waters. However, a report yesterday in the Trinidad-based Guardian Media said the Government of T&T is still very interested in hosting the matches and has asked CPL to hold their hand in making an announcement and to meet with them this week, to hear their final offer. It is understood that CPL was asking in the range of US$4.5M to award the finals weekend to any of the Caribbean countries.
Last year T&T government paid US$3.5M to host the event for the second time in the three-year history (the other venue being St Kitts and Nevis). Initially T&T had mentioned to the owners of the CPL that they were not willing to pay US$4.5M to host the matches and instead, they offered US$1.5M which did not fit the bill.
The Guardian report said T&T got left behind because of the government’s insistence on paying all the local bills, so that their investment remains in the country and this did not go down well with the CPL, who wanted a cash payout.
The Guyana Government, it is reported, said they were willing to pay US$2M and they were about to be awarded until T&T asked to meet with the officials one more time, in a last ditch effort to bring the matches to Trinidad.
The T&T government’s idea of paying the local bills as their investment to hosting the matches was as a result of the recession the country is undergoing at the moment and keeping the money here would have led to movement in the local economy even if it was for a short period.
SMG Insight, the firm hired to audit last year’s CPL, reasoned that by hosting last year’s event, T&T got significant economic and social benefits, which included the direct spend by CPL from hotel to local vendors, travel, media and advertising.
The total direct impact of the 2015 tournament for the T&T economy was stated as US$15.40 million. This was broken down into the direct spend by CPL which was US$3.84 million, accommodation and general expenditure was listed at US$5.63 million, and value produced by the T&T Tourist Board branding at matches was put at US$5.93 million.