By Avenash Ramzan
An “outstanding” tournament is what the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) is looking to deliver in 2016, according to Head of Public Relations and Communications, Peter Breen.
During an exclusive interview with this media entity on Thursday, Breen pointed out that the League is primed to be a major hit once again. Unlike previous years, matches are now slated to be held outside of the Caribbean, with Florida set to host games in July.
Breen hailed this latest development as a significant one in the short history of CPL.
“It’s a tournament that’s definitely growing year on year and we know that in terms of social media, in terms of the global viewership as well. Last year 302,000 came through the turnstiles for CPL- that was a growth of 44%. It is lovely to think we can sustain that crowd, but I’m not sure if we physically can, given the size of the stadia, but it is definitely a step in the right direction,” a beaming Breen said.
The Irishman pointed out that the large influx of top quality international players is a clear indication of the marketability of the league, which was initiated in 2013. For CPL 4, South Africa’s batting superstars AB deVilliers and Faf du Plessis, Australia’s all-rounder Shane Watson and recently retired New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum will all be making their maiden appearance in the tournament.
“It’s very clear with the talent on display, both local talent and international talent, have been contracted and that’s a massive vote of confidence from the wider cricketing public that the Caribbean Premier League is unique, it’s the ‘Biggest Party in Sport’ as well all know. It’s incredible vibe, and an incredibly fun place, but with serious cricket on the field, and people want to be part of that,” Breen stated.
Timing is of the essence, as the League smacks right into a busy period of cricket, with the World T20 and the Tri-Series preceding the six-week tournament.
“It’s a very exciting tournament to be a part of. I think it’s a massive year for cricket full stop, it would have started with the Big Bash into the various little tournaments that have been happening and I think with the growth and movement to America that opens up a whole new avenue of possibilities for West Indies cricket and for CPL,” Breen explained.
He continued, “So we’re very excited about that; there’s a lot of work to be done to ensure we deliver an outstanding tournament, because that’s the level we want to achieve- we want to achieve an outstanding tournament and we’re very confident in our abilities to do so and we know that it will be very, very competitive, particularly looking at the talent of the players who are going to be involved this year.”
The Caribbean Premier League is considered among the top three T20 Leagues around the globe, behind the Indian Premier League and the Big Bash League.