Guyana to launch World Premier League to elevate regional cricket brand – President Ali

Chairman of CARICOM, President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali has announced that the government is working with the West Indies Cricket Board and the International Cricket Council (ICC) to develop a new cricket franchise for the region.

The Guyanese leader made the disclosure during a virtual address at the opening ceremony of the CARICOM Regional Cricket Conference in Trinidad and Tobago, on Thursday.

President Ali stressed that a major component of enhancing the West Indies Cricket brand is doubling down on what makes Caribbean cricket unique, and building its appeal to dominate the global market.

According to the head of state, Guyana is already moving ahead with this goal.

“We are working with West Indies Cricket Board and (Caribbean Premier League) CPL and the ICC to launch a new product for the region that will position the region in the global market and that is the World’s Premier League (WPL),” the president stated.  

The league will build on the foundation set by the Champions League, which was an annual international Twenty20 (T20) Cricket competition that brought together teams from major cricketing nations.

He identified CPL as a viable avenue to expand the region’s cricket brand to appeal to the global audience.

As such, this WPL will be a product of the CPL and is aimed at building a resilient, profitable, and competitive West Indies brand.

“So here is an opportunity now to embrace the development of a global product that would help us to keep and finance our talent, and give more opportunities to our talent. So we would have the World Premier League and the Caribbean Premier League working hand-in-hand,” President Ali explained.

The president emphasised the need to redefine the brand of West Indies cricket, addressing issues such as commercialisation, franchising, and societal integration.

He also highlighted the importance of creating a comprehensive plan to leverage West Indies’ cultural heritage to attract new cricket fans.

“We have to redefine this brand and ask some important questions…[like] who owns the brand, and how are we going to protect the brand, expand the brand, position the brand, and create global ownership?”

According to the president, global ownership means setting the West Indies brand as the cornerstone of cricket in the world.

“I believe that we need to examine whether we need to move West Indies cricket from the West Indies Cricket Board to the American Cricket Board. Because we have to now work towards owning cricket in the Americas,” President Ali suggested.

Along this vein, he also pointed to critical infrastructural improvements, such as the development of smart stadiums that offer a unique fan experience.

“How do we showcase in our stands and in our stadium the sun, sand, and sea, the eco-tourism? How do we build that into the facility? We have to also look at the stadiums we have and whether they are attractive enough to give the personalised experience that fans want globally now from sporting events,” the CARICOM chairman added.

The CARICOM Regional Cricket Conference is an initiative designed to address West Indies cricket obligations and challenges through a collaborative approach.

The inaugural event is the culmination of a commitment made by Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister and Chair of the CARICOM Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee on Cricket, Dr. the Honourable Keith Rowley, during the recent 46th Heads of Government regional conference.

It aims to strategically advance all formats of the game, that is, test matches, one-day internationals, and T20s.

The conference is being held under the theme: “Reinvigorating  West Indies Cricket.”

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