St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN); Sports Minister Deputy Prime Minister Shawn Richards has confirmed that St. Kitts and Nevis will be hosting Hero CPL matches this year.
In an interview with WINN FM, the Deputy Prime Minister said the deal was finalized this week for St. Kitts and Nevis to host four season matches in August.
“St. Kitts-Nevis is slated to host CPL matches this year. If I can recall correctly the games are scheduled to be held August 19th, 21st, 23rd and 24th. We made the final payment towards the hosting of these matches during the course of this week, so that from a financial position we are in a position to host the matches.”
The Caribbean Premier League franchise, now in its fifth year, will see all six teams returning for the 2017 season starting in August and running through to the finals in early September- 2016 champions Jamaica Tallawahs; Barbados Tridents; Guyana Amazon Warriors; St. Lucia Stars, formerly St. Lucia Zouks; Trinbago Knight Riders and St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots.
The CPL T20 series has been celebrated as the biggest sports party to hit the region in recent times, drawing large crowds in a fete like atmosphere to the host islands’ cricket venues.
Sports Minister Richards said based on Economic Impact Assessments carried out after the last two years of hosting CPL matches, St. Kitts and Nevis has definitely seen economic and other benefits from having games at Warner Park Stadium.
With respect to what the government of St. Kitts and Nevis paid to host the four matches this year, Minister Richards did not have the figures available at the time of the interview as he was not in office. St. Kitts and Nevis has paid upwards of $2 million for CPL matches in the past, however the Deputy Prime Minister said the government would have paid less this year, given that St. Kitts and Nevis will host fewer matches and will not be hosting matches for the semi finals or final round. He offered to provide the costing figure when he returned to office on Monday.
The CPL T20 matches held in the federation saw capacity turnouts to Warner Park Cricket Stadium in Basseterre and the Minister of Sports expects the same support and enthusiasm from local cricket fans this year.
“Of course I expect fans to come out and support the CPL games. We have four matches being held here. Hopefully the fans would also be aware that Chris Gayle signed a contract to play for the St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots and we are hoping that that will greatly improve our prospects of being the champion at the end of the day.”