‘CPL 2020 has set the trend, made the template’

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By Avenash Ramzan

“We set the trend; we made the template.” That’s the analysis of Tournament Operations Director of the Hero Caribbean Premier League, Michael Hall.

Appearing on the Mason and Guest Radio Show in Barbados on Tuesday night, Hall said the tournament being held in the middle of a pandemic has set the League on a good footing going forward.

“Obviously, the biggest learning experience this year for us was how to stage a tournament in the middle of a pandemic. I think the good news about that is that if it is the will of the universe that COVID-19 is going to play a big part in our lives again next year this time, we’re ahead of the curve. We set the trend, we made the template for doing it. I think we will be in a much better place in terms of organising for a tournament in a scenario like this,” Hall boasted.

CPL Tournament Operations Director, Michael Hall

“Preparations for next year’s tournament begins probably next week Monday. Our senior group will sit down and look back at what happened, look and see how we can tweak things- we do that every year. I don’t want to sound as if we’re complacent; the truth of the matter is that there isn’t a lot I think that needs to be changed.”

Unlike previous years where the six franchises had a quota of home games and there was inter-island/country travel, the entire tournament was hosted solely in Trinidad and Tobago behind closed doors with strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols.

Players and officials were required to arrive in the twin-island two weeks prior to the bowl-off to complete the mandatory quarantine period and be tested and re-tested.

“It has also taught us if we go back to normalcy, that perhaps we need to think about reducing things on the cost side of our equation by condensing the number of venues that the tournament is staged in,” Hall highlighted.

“Clearly, on the cost side of the equation we would have eliminated a lot of air travel; we would not have had to move broadcast equipment around to six different countries, or two different countries rather because there would normally be two sets of broadcast equipment in the region.”

He continued, “So on the cost side of the equation there were some savings, but you have to bear in mind that on the revenue side, we had more sponsorship partners onboard, but you will appreciate that sponsors, particularly regional sponsors, get bang for their bucks by way of fan interaction and activation of their products and services at the venues with fans. With the games being played behind closed doors, while folks associated with the tournament, I suspect that the value of those sponsorship may have been reduced.”

Guyana Amazon Warriors made it to the semi-finals, but lost to St. Lucia Zouks (Photo by Randy Brooks – CPL T20/CPL T20 via Getty Images)

Despite the challenges that came with a closed door event, Hall disclosed that a collective decision was made to host the tournament this year, thereby becoming the first franchise-based T20 League to be played during the global lockdown.

“Kudos to the franchise owners; we took a decision that it would be just too detrimental for the CPL brand to disappear for a year. It’s a highly competitive environment- professional sports leagues- and we felt it was important to maintain the visibility of our brand,” Hall pointed out.

“It’s early yet to say what the financial out-turn was, and how the League and the individual franchises fared. I suspect that if I can speak euphemistically it wouldn’t be the best year ever financially for the League or the franchises.”

The eighth edition of tournament was held between August 18 to September 10 with the League’s most successful franchise Trinbago Knight Riders beating St. Lucia Zouks in the final to claim their fourth title.

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