IPL success spurs South Africa to launch SPL

May 3rd, 2009 - 5:50 pm ICT by IANS  

By Fakir Hassen
Johannesburg, May 3 (IANS) South African cricket authorities are speeding up the launch of the proposed Southern Premier League (SPL) to cash in on the huge success of the second edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) here.

Plans for an SPL featuring South Africa, Australia and New Zealand are well advanced and the first series may be hosted by South Africa in October 2011, the Afrikaans weekly Rapport said here Sunday.

Rapport quoted unnamed but reliable sources as saying that the full stadiums and large worldwide television audiences of the IPL has brought with it the promise of huge revenues and has served as “extra motivation” to get the SPL up and running as quickly as possible.

The IPL, which was moved to South Africa because of security concerns during the elections in India, has given a fillip to the local economy, estimated to be two billion Rands. Cricket South Africa (CSA) expects to earn between 80 to 100 million Rands annually from the SPL.

The proposal for the SPL was reportedly already discussed at a council meeting of CSA last year.

CSA as well as its Australian and New Zealand counterparts have apparently also secured permission from Board of Control For Cricket In India (BCCI) for Indian players to participate in the SPL.

Given that the Indian cricket market is the largest in the world, the participation of its cricketers is considered critical to the success of the SPL.

The format of the SPL will be similar to IPL, except that the ten teams in the SPL will be two more than the Indian league. Companies or individuals will be able to buy teams, each of which would be based at one of the cricket stadiums in South Africa, resulting in increased revenues for local cricket unions as well.

Although details have not been finalised yet, it is believed that there will be four South African, four Australian and two New Zealand teams in the SPL, with Indian players joining these sides.

It is also believed that the SPL plan includes rotating the series between the three participating countries.

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