Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) controversial new T2o League is one step closer to fruition after the governing body announced the six venues for the tournament slated to start next month.
These six venues – Wanderers (Johannesburg), SuperSport Park (Centurion), Newlands (Cape Town), St George’s Park (Port Elizabeth), Kingsmead (Durban) and Boland Park (Paarl) – will also act as bases for the franchises that will compete in the tournament.
Boland Park is an interesting choice as it’s the only stadium that doesn’t host an existing franchise (it’s the secondary home for the Cape Cobras) and will be a bitter pill to swallow for Bloemfontein, home of the Knights, which boasts state of the art new floodlights from the stadium infrastructure programme that was supposed to drive CSA’s failed Global T20.
The federation, however, isn’t expecting sour grapes as the process of allocation was independently conducted by Nielsen Sports.
“The key mandate given to all our Members in applying to be a host venue was the primary goal of luring new and traditional fans, other sports fans and the wider general public to our stadia,” said CSA chief Thabang Moroe.
That would also explain Boland Park’s promotion as the stadium is close to several middle-class neighbourhoods.
“From our observations of other T20 Leagues around the world and competitions in other sporting codes it has become clear that the fan experience is all important.
“Our research has shown us that the match day experience is enhanced by fans ‘leaving their seats’, either to engage with other fans in different areas of the stadium, to partake in various sponsor and event activations,” said Moroe.
It remains to be seen though whether previous owners in the T20 Global League disrupt the launch of the tournament after threatening legal action.