That means that if free-to-air broadcasters like the SABC or e-TV can’t come up with the funds to show the competition, it will primarily be broadcast on pay-tv.
Cricket SA’s chief executive Haroon Lorgat admitted no decision had been made about whether the tournament, that starts in November, will be shown on free-to-air platforms.
“I must be honest, this is a commercial venture. We would look to see who would bid the price that we need to achieve in order make the model work.” Cricket SA is in “sensitive” negotiations with SuperSport, Lorgat added.
The much-hyped tournament, which CSA hopes will be on par with similar competitions in India, Australia and the Caribbean, has already attracted interest from a number of overseas players with Chris Gayle, Kevin Pietersen and Brendon McCullum among a host of stars who’ve already lent their names to the tournament.
Cricket SA is in the final stages of wrapping up ownership agreements. The current shortlist, which The Star understands is 16, will be cut to eight over the next fortnight and includes foreign and local bidders.
The owners and eight franchises will be unveiled at an event in London on June 19. “It’s going according to plan,” said Lorgat, “we’ve got the final rounds of presentations and interviews and the decision-making on the 5th ,6th and 8th of June.
“There’s a gap between the 8th and the 19th – which is by design – in case there’s a need to re-negotiate anything because somebody’s still determined on one particular city and we may have too many for the one and we’re looking to convince somebody for another. There are contracts we have to enter into – which include the franchise licence agreements – all of that we plan to do from now to the 19th.”
Although there will be no quota policy in place for teams in the competition, part of the franchise agreement will include clauses ensuring prospective owners adhere to CSA’s “transformation philosophies”.
“The absence of targets shouldn’t be read as something that we won’t impress upon the owners to support us with,” said Lorgat.
“We’ve got an evaluation after seven years at which point we will look at the team owners, see who is contributing, who’s not, a number of key performance areas will be evaluated and if there’s failure on the part of our owners to support our transformation goals we will make that point.
“Ultimately there is provision to have a real hard discussion with those owners (who don’t fulfill the transformation mandate).”
Lorgat also announced that CSA will invest R250 million to upgrade the country’s cricket stadia.