CPL 2017: Jamaica Tallawahs owner keen to shift team base to Florida
What's the story?
Kris Persaud, the owner of the reigning Caribbean Premier League champions Jamaica Tallawahs, is keen to move the franchise’s base to Lauderhill in Florida. Provided the owner has his way, then the team’s home ground would shift from Sabina Park, Kingston to the Central Broward Regional Park, making the Tallawahs the only USA-based franchise in any domestic Twenty20 league.
Speculations of Persaud wanting to shift the team’s base first arose in a press release by a PR firm on July 27th. At a gathering held in Florida this week, several sources informed Cricinfo that the representatives of the Worldwide Sports Management Group (the company owned by Persaud) announced that they intended to host at least three home games each season at Lauderhill.
However, a CPL spokesperson opposed Persaud’s statements, stating, "While the CPL has been open about pursuing opportunities to expand the number of franchises in the future with the possibility of a new franchise based in the USA, the CPL remains committed to keeping our original six franchises at home in the West Indies.”
In case you didn't know...
Persaud, owner of the Worldwide Sports Management Group (WSMG) based in California, took over the ownership of the Jamaica Tallawahs from former owners Ron Parikh and Manish Patel last month and has since been keen to move the franchise to Florida. This is reportedly being done in order to attract more audience to the Central Broward Regional Park which had previously hosted the India-West Indies T20 series last year.
Previously, the WSMG had signed an agreement with the stadium in Florida for rights to stage international cricket matches at the ground, with an assurance of three international events each year. Matches involving the Jamaica Tallawahs would also be counted.
The heart of the matter
The ICC were surprised with this decision and an official of the governing body stated that, like the hosting of any other cricketing event at the United States, the ownership of the Jamaican franchise would require special sanction from the ICC or the ICC Americas.
The proposal made by the Tallawahs owner does come as a surprise because the ownership fees for any of the franchises of the CPL is $2.5 million with $2 million of that sum being sponsored by the CPL, making the annual fee $500,000.
However, if the franchise is taken over by a new owner and that owner wants to shift the base of the franchise, then the CPL would reduce its support by $1.5 million per year, which makes the annual ownership fees $2 million.
Florida’s stadium at Lauderhill has also not attracted large audiences with the 10,000 capacity stadium expecting a turnout of around 5000 for tomorrow’s game between the Guyana Amazon Warriors and the St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots.
The Jamaica Tallawahs will begin their CPL campaign against the Barbados Tridents tomorrow shortly after the Warriors-Patriots game.
A USA-based franchise would definitely increase the popularity of cricket in the country. However, moving the franchise to a new country definitely won’t be easy to implement. The answers to all the questions will be known once the Tallawahs owner has a talk with the ICC.