This is CSA’s third attempt to launch a T20 competition since the failed Global League T20 (GLT20) in 2017 and the now defunct Mzansi Super League (MSL), played in 2018 and 2019. According to a document distributed at a special meeting of the Cricket South Africa- and (CSA), the CSA aims to create “the second best T20 league in the world” after the IPL. The document acknowledges that only the IPL has experienced “incredible success” and that there is a “clear gap” between the Indian T20 League and others, leaving the CSA with no choice but to focus on being second best in T20 tournaments.
To that end, it involved one person who knows how to create league success better than most: Sundar Raman, the former chief operating officer (COO) of IPL, has gained a minority stake in the competition. The document states that Raman owns a 12.5% stake in the tournament yet to be named, with the CSA retaining a majority stake (57.5%) and the SuperSport broadcaster owning the remaining 30%.
The CSA estimates the league will cost her $ 56 million over 10 years, and will generate $ 30 million in revenue over the same period. But to that is added SuperSport’s commitment to pay $ 89 million, which will allow CSA and franchisees to make a profit – to be split 50-50 – in the first decade. The document claims that the league will be “an economically viable project for CSA from day one”, which distinguishes it from the other two attempts.
The GLT20, which was abandoned for reasons including the absence of a broadcast partner, cost more than RUS 300 million ($ 19.1 million) and two MSL events, which were shown on public television, SABC, for a negligible fee of R25 million (1, 6 million USD), cost over 200 million RUS (12.7 million USD). Both have significantly reduced CSA reserves, which some say are at such a low level that play in South Africa is in danger of becoming severely financially constrained in the near future.
With this concern in mind, the CSA decided to return to the T20 market, noting that “the success of the IPL has changed the face and economy of the BCCI” and hoping that something similar could happen for the CSA. As a result, he ruled out any “experiments,” such as playing the T10 format or 100 balls, and aimed to get “100 best and available players” with roughly half from South Africa. CSA’s goal is for the tournament to “redefine the landscape and cricket economy in South Africa” by 2033, and plans to have each franchise pay 20% of its revenue to CSA by the 11th year of the tournament.
South Africa is also hosting three ICC events over the next five years, which will not only improve the country’s profile as a host of major tournaments, but will also bring much-needed revenue. In January 2023, it will organize the World Championships for women under 19 T20, followed by the World Championships T20 for women in February and co-host the World Cup for men ODI 2027, along with Namibia and Zimbabwe.