In the build-up to the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup in the Caribbean, each of the territories was asked what matches they can host. They were also asked to bid for the semi-finals and finals.
The territorial Boards were excited as Barbados, Guyana and Trinidad were the front runners for the grand finals. Lo and behold, Barbados won the bid for the semi-final and final.
Local cricket lovers wondered what went wrong as Trinidad was seen as the mecca of cricket and one who could have afforded to pay the ICC.
Sometime later, then Prime Minister Patrick Manning said Trinidad did not bid as the Government decided to allow the smaller countries the opportunities to make some money, due to tourism.
In 2016, history is about to repeat itself as the T&T Government, although bidding for the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Finals on August 7, did not succeed as Guyana won the right to host the semi final and final.
This Government’s bid was US $1.5 million, but Guyana, who is struggling economically, successfully bid US $4.5 million.
Guyana will also host both semi-finals which will take place at Providence Stadium.
The deal was struck and it will be made public in a few days time. The CPL organizers were asking for US $ 4.5 M (G $ 932.4 million) for the award of the final-four.
It will be the first time that the finals will be hosted in Guyana, as the three previous finals took place in T&T (2) and St. Kitts. Last year, the PP government invested US$3.5 million (TT $ 24 million) and there was massive interest and sold out crowds for the final which was won by the local Red Steel team (renamed the Trinbago Knight Riders), which beat Barbados Tridents in the final at the Queen’s Park Oval.
SMG Insight reasoned that by hosting last year’s event, T&T got significant economic and social benefits, which included the direct spend by CPL from hotel to local vendors, travel, media and advertising. The total direct impact of the 2015 tournament for the T&T economy was stated as US$15.40 million. This was broken down into the direct spend by CPL which was US$3.84 million, accommodation and general expenditure was listed at US$5.63 million, and value produced by the T&T Tourism Development Corporation (TDC) branding at matches was put at US$5.93 million.
The proposal also outlined to all governments that a total of 93,929 fans attended the matches in T&T and as a result 551 jobs were created. In addition, a television audience of 27.3 million persons viewed the games, and a total of 5,703 nights were spent by non-local spectators at the hotels in T&T.
In other words, if the T&T Knight Riders make it to the semi-finals and finals, the local fans will either have to go down to Guyana or watch on television. The local franchise will be captained by Champion allrounder Dwayne Bravo and will include a number of Trinidad and Tobago stars.
Many are asking: Does Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley really love cricket as he professes, or are we using the downturn in the economy as an excuse?