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Ken Borland


Excellent build-up for SA20 league kicking off next week

Posted on October 31, 2023 by Ken

The excellent build-up for the new SA20 tournament continued this week with the news that Sky Sports in the UK have signed a five-year deal to also show the tournament, expanding the global reach of the new T20 league and also bringing in some much-needed hard currency.

With the tournament kicking off in Cape Town next Tuesday evening in Cape Town, everything would seem to be in place for the SA20 to explode into the consciousness of cricket fans.

While co-owners SuperSport will obviously have the African broadcast rights for the league, the all-important Indian market was sown up by the 10-year deal signed with Viacom 18, the dynamic new entertainment network that is growing rapidly on the subcontinent. They are believed to be paying at least $240 000 per game, so this year’s 33 matches will bring in nearly $8 million (R135 million).

Contracts are also being finalised to ensure the tournament is broadcast in other major cricket markets like Australia/New Zealand and the Caribbean.

There is a title sponsor in BetWay, who have signed a “multi-year” deal, and CSA are intimating that the league will make a profit in its first year, having earlier predicted a five-year wait before the SA20 would be in the black.

One does still wonder, however, about a few finer details.

Is a run of five successive fixtures between February 3-7 on the Highveld – with matches at both the Wanderers and SuperSport Park on February 4 – going to enjoy good crowds? The semi-finals follow from February 8 and there is a good chance either the Joburg Super Kings or Pretoria Capitals will be involved in those too.

And is the tournament loadshedding-proof and, if so, are those emergency back-up measures not going to significantly decrease profits?

But here’s hoping for some magnificent action to take our minds off all the troubles currently surrounding South African cricket, never mind the country as a whole.

Having looked into my crystal ball, I would, if forced to, put money on a MI Cape Town versus Paarl Royals final.

MI Cape Town, in particular, have a marvellous attack – Jofra Archer, Sam Curran, Kagiso Rabada and Rashid Khan could bowl 16 of their 20 overs, which leaves opposition batsmen with plenty of thinking to do when it comes to taking them on.

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