Former Proteas captain Graeme Smith has reiterated his desire to transform the Betway SA20 League into “the biggest league outside India”.
Smith, the commissioner of South Africa’s premier T20 domestic competition, was speaking ahead of the start of season 2 in Gqeberha on Wednesday.
The SA20 League was launched last year and immediately obtained major success. With the support of six major Indian Premier League franchises, who own all of the respective teams, SA20 attracted superstar players from around the world.
Cricket fans across the six venues around the country – Cape Town, Paarl, Gqeberha, Durban, Johannesburg and Centurion – streamed through the turnstiles in record numbers.
An Economic Impact Assessment (EIA) commissioned by the League also highlighted the positive effect the 33-match competition had on South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), household income, employment and direct expenditure with some key numbers emerging from the study such as R1.4 billion direct expenditure into South Africa, 8 223 annualised employment opportunities created, R4.1bn contributed to GDP and R958m contributed to household income.
“We want to be the biggest league outside India, that’s our ambition. The best South African players will be seen in action and there are some young players coming through,” Smith said.
Defending champions Sunrisers Eastern Cape will face Joburg Super Kings at St George’s Park in the tournament opener on Wednesday (starts 5.30pm).