South Africa announced a new six-team franchise-based T20 league.

Ever since the inception of the Indian Premium League, the most coveted franchise cricket tournament in the world, in the year 2008, franchise cricket has made its own mark in world cricket. One after another, each cricket-playing country has started its own franchise league. The Big Bash league by Australia, Pakistan Super League by Pakistan, Carrebean Premium League by West Indies are to name a few.

At this point in time, there is one or another franchise league being played at some location thanks to the increasing popularity of T20 Cricket. Franchise leagues are considered a way to generate income in return for assured entertainment on cricket grounds. Following the same lead, Cricket South Africa announced their own franchise cricket league based on IPL. The franchise league announced by CSA shall consist of six teams and shall commence from January 2023. As per reports, Similar to IPL, each team in South African Franchise League can have up to four foreign players.

It would be worth noting that this is not the first time Cricket South Africa is chasing such endeavors of having their own franchise league. In 2018, CSA launched Mzansi Super League having six teams in total. Even Indian Superstar and co-owner of Kolkata Knight Riders, Shahrukh Khan invested in one of the six teams. However, due to Covid and dispute over broadcasting rights, MSL could not continue beyond two seasons.

This year, learning from past mistakes, CSA already seems to have sorted broadcasting rights of the league as the upcoming league is the result of an agreement between Cricket South Africa and SuperSport. While making the announcement of the league CEO of Cricket South Africa, Pholetsi Moseki said “We are excited by the formation of something this fresh and invigorating, which also offers the opportunity for private investment into the franchises,”. Due to the increasing popularity of franchise cricket, investors across the world also look at such leagues as an opportunity to expand their portfolios. When asked about investors, the CEO also assured the media personnel that they already have letters of interest from various investors.

Regarding the format of the tournament, it was revealed that Six privately owned teams shall play each other in a double-round format to make it into the top three. No doubt, apart from being a source of revenue, such franchise leagues also provide an opportunity for young players to get exposed to competitive cricket. Playing up to four foreign players in each team will also bring international exposure to local grounds and ultimately these players get a testing ground before making entry into T20 international cricket.

January has been kept free for the South African cricket team to make sure of their availability in the home league. Speaking about the new agreement and timing of the league CEO of SuperSports said “We are delighted to invest in a product that will change the face of South African cricket. There is an early-year gap in the calendar, so the timing is ideal.” Seeing this new rising trend of Franchise Cricket, it would be worth seeing how investors are planning to attract foreign players considering the number of international cricket matches to be played as well. Indian players, like usual, might not be part of this franchise league, However, BCCI is yet to make an announcement.

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