CAPE TOWN – Cricket South Africa chief executive Haroon Lorgat is not having any sleepless nights about the Stellenbosch Monarchs still being without an owner even after the T20 Global League player draft was completed on Sunday at a plush city hotel.
Brimstone Investment Corporation Limited, the South African investment company which was originally unveiled as one of the eight franchise owners of the T20 Global League in June, ended their interest in pursuing ownership of Boland franchise earlier this month.
This left CSA to take on the responsibility of setting up the franchise prior to the November 3 tournament kickoff.
Monarchs SA marquee player Faf du Plessis and assistant coach Eric Simons, along with team ambassador Paul Adams – in conjunction with various CSA support staff – manned the Monarchs’ player draft table over the weekend in head coach Stephen Fleming’s absence.
“You always have this challenge, where someone might have reason (to withdraw). We were ready for that. So, it wasn’t an issue for us,” Lorgat said of Brimstone’s withdrawal.
“The amazing thing is that it’s going to be blessing. We have got a number of interested parties. Hopefully very, very soon, we can make the announcement, which will surprise and certainly showcase the attraction of this league.
“I have no doubt that it is going to bowl a few people over. We made the decision long before we went to the market for owners, should there be a need for CSA to ‘warehouse’ a team in lieu of an owner to come.”
The sale of the tournament’s broadcast rights has yet to be finalised too, with the weekend’s player draft being live streamed by production company Kwiktec on social media channels Facebook and YouTube.
“There’s a lot around the commercial aspects where we want to make sure we get the best deals for everyone concerned, including a broadcaster,” Lorgat said.
“So, we could go early and secure a deal and then say we shouldn’t have, because there is a lot more to be concerned about.
“Or alternatively you can do it as late as possible. In our view, it was better to do it after the owners were announced. And after the players were announced. There is now concrete evidence of what you are selling.”
For all the commercial benefits CSA are hoping to achieve with the T20 Global League, they remain the custodians of the game in South Africa, with the responsibility to spread it to the masses.
Already only the Proteas home internationals are aired on free-to-air television, with pay channel SuperSport holding the monopoly on all domestic cricket and all Proteas matches played abroad.
“It will be great if we can get free-to-air because that’s where the majority of people have TV sets,” Lorgat said.
“But there is a commercial aspect to it. We did say that we want to generate a league that will provide the commercial returns that will sustain and grow the game. It is a balancing act, which we will consider, that we can at least have some form of the tournament on the free-to-air channel.”