JOHANNESBURG – Cricket South Africa are still negotiating with multiple potential sponsors for its Mzansi Super League T20 tournament, but there’s every chance the event will start next Friday, sans a headline sponsor.
Cricket SA’s offices in Johannesburg are understood to be frantic as preparations accelerate ahead of the competition that starts at Newlands on November 16 when the Cape Town Blitz face the Tshwane Spartans.
CSA remain in discussions with a variety of potential backers, which include international entities.
A spokesman for Cricket SA said yesterday, a satellite legal office had been set up at CSA’s headquarters to help to quickly draft contracts and that it is possible a sponsor could be signed after the tournament starts.
Potential backers from the fields of mobile phones to insurance have been on CSA’s list but despite an optimistic outlook from CSA Commercial Manager Clive Eksteen three weeks ago - when he said an announcement would be made that week - no commercial partner has been signed.
In its previous guise as the T20 Global League, CSA had to postpone the event after it failed to attract a headline sponsor and a TV broadcast deal wasn’t agreed. This year’s tournament will be shown on the SABC, which has financial problems and didn’t pay a cent to CSA for the broadcast rights.
The SABC, which doesn’t have enough mobile production units to show an event that will be played in six different centres around the country, will be supported in those endeavours by an international production company.
Meanwhile the players will gather with their respective squads at the end of the week, to begin preparation for the tournament, with the various international players heading here next Tuesday.
The Proteas currently on tour will only join their respective MSL franchises after the first round of matches, which will be completed on the weekend of November 17/18.
Some of the International marquee players have availed themselves for the first weekend of the competition; Chris Gayle will play for the Jozi Stars in their opening game, as will Dwayne Bravo for the Paarl Rocks, but then like the other foreign stars they will head off for a T10 tournament in Dubai and only return for the MSL in the first week of December.
As a result, all the affected franchises will be able to pick from a new pool of players to fill the respective openings in their squads with the Rocks expected to draft David Wiese in place of Bravo, while Australian Michael Klinger will fill in for Irishman Paul Stirling.
A full list of potential replacements will be sent to the franchises on Monday night.@shockerhess