Wesley Botton

Compiled by Wesley Botton

Chief sports journalist

More than just a game: SA20 cricket league boosts SA economy

The T20 league contributed R4.1 billion to South Africa’s GDP.

As much as sports fans seemed to enjoy the cricket during this year’s inaugural SA20 campaign, a study has shown that the popular series had an even bigger impact on the nation’s economy.

The first year of South Africa’s premier T20 league was a tremendous success, producing unprecedented attendance numbers across the six host venues, and it was widely credited for injecting renewed investment and excitement into the domestic game.

More than 70% of tickets were sold across the 33 matches, which included six sold out games and the final.

Economic impact study

Expanding the measurements of its success, an economic impact assessment (EIA) commissioned by the SA20 league has highlighted the positive effects the competition had on the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), household income, employment and direct expenditure.

The study determined that the series, which features some of the world’s best players, brought R1.4 billion direct expenditure into South Africa, while 8,223 annualised employment opportunities were created.

A total of R4.1 billion was contributed to South Africa’s GDP and R958 million was contributed to household income.

Local communities

According to Cricket South Africa, the EIA also showed the investment by the teams into their franchises led to a substantial stimulus on local communities, with league staff, venues and vendors all benefitting.

“When we set out to find suitable franchises to partner with SA20, our main goal was to ensure a significant economic investment into the league and South African cricket, but an event such as this has a far wider impact,” said SA20 league commissioner Graeme Smith.

“The results from the EIA are a true testament to the legacy we want to create as a league. Delivering a world-class cricket product is our key focus but the knock-on effects, which include investment into the economy, job opportunities, and profiling South Africa as a tourist destination in key source markets, have been fantastic.”

The second season of the SA20 series, which will again feature six IPL-owned franchise teams, will get underway on 10 January 2024.

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