Prince: Mzansi Super League on SABC 'groundbreaking'

Ashwell Prince (Gallo)
Ashwell Prince (Gallo)

Cape Town - It may not have been by design, but Cricket South Africa's (CSA) 'decision' to give the broadcasting rights for the upcoming Mzansi Premier League to the SABC is one that is going down well. 

Things are moving along at a rapid pace, and in the blink of an eye we now have six franchises and 96 players signed up to South African cricket's latest product.

It hasn't always been plain sailing. 

The T20 Global League, due to be launched at the end of last year, flopped in the absence of a title sponsor and a broadcast deal. 

It was a failure that left CSA embarrassed, but it was ultimately then-CEO Haroon Lorgat who was made the scapegoat. 

In 2018, under the new leadership of Thabang Moroe, CSA are trying again. 

But, up until a couple of weeks ago, the tournament looked destined for the same miserable fate as the Global League. 

In June this year, CSA announced that it had joined forces with SuperSport in an equity deal that would see the broadcaster own a healthy chunk of the league. 

Just two months later, SuperSport pulled the plug on that partnership and that was when CSA looked dead and buried. 

Attempts at a broadcast deal with SuperSport in the weeks that followed did not bear any fruit, and it was only at the end of September that CSA announced a deal with the cash-strapped SABC. 

Details of that deal are still unclear, and it has been reported that no money can change hands due to SABC's financial situation, but CSA has since secured help from Global Sports Commerce - the Singapore-based technology service company that works with the IPL. 

That is good news for the SABC, who will now have assistance in producing a world class product. 

The most important piece of information, though, is that the tournament will be available to all South Africans from November 16 - December 16. 

It is a development that Cape Blitz coach Ashwell Prince describes as "groundbreaking" in South Africa.

"Everybody around the country will be able to see the game and see their heroes out there on the field. I think it's brilliant," Prince told Sport24 at Newlands on Thursday.

"It's vitally important ... it's groundbreaking,"

Broadcast deals aside, the tournament organisers must now do what they can to generate as much interest in the product as they possibly can. 

They have less than a month. 

Fixtures have been announced and Prince is hopeful that the South African cricket public will buy in.

"I think it is new, exciting and there are some international players," Prince said.

"I'm hoping they will make the tickets really affordable. It would be brilliant for a whole family of four to be able to come in for R100 or whatever the case may be.

"A lot of the money is made through TV rights and it being sold around the world, so it would be nice if the ticket prices are affordable." 

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