So long, CLT20

Times Media

TELFORD VICE, Cape Town

THE cancellation of the Champions League T20 (CLT20) on Wednesday will be welcomed by those who decry the deluge of meaningless matches, particularly in the shortest format, that cricket expects its consumers to follow.

But the game itself will not celebrate, particularly in smaller markets like SA – where more than R300-million will disappear from the books each year.

Cricket SA’s (CSA) share in the CLT20 was worth R302-million a year. The country’s six franchises earned R350 000 each, and the two who qualified for the tournament made another R2.4-million. Then there’s the R1.8-million that teams banked each time an Indian Premier League (IPL) side called dibs on one of their players.

However, those numbers pale next to the R1.2-billion the broadcasters reportedly were losing on the tournament  annually.

The CLT20’s demise has been mooted for the past three months, which has given boards time to find a plug for the hole in their cash bucket. CSA, for instance, said in April that they had managed to turn a projected loss of R106-million for the financial year into a profit of more than R100-million.

A release on Wednesday quoted Anurag Thakur, the honorary secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India – the tournament’s major shareholders – as saying, “Unfortunately, off the field, CLT20 wasn’t sustaining the interest of the fans as we had hoped.”

Perhaps, he did not say, because the interest of those fans had reached saturation point, what with having to keep an eye on their domestic competitions in all formats, the IPL, the Caribbean Premier League, the Bangladesh Premier League, and how their national teams are doing in T20s, one-day internationals and tests.

Something had to give. It proved to be the CLT20.

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