Cricket

T20: Lorgat promises ‘tiered pricing’

2017-08-30 12:36
Haroon Lorgat (Gallo)

Cape Town – Getting bums on seats countrywide will be a pivotal part of Cricket South Africa’s attempt to get the new T20 Global League off to a suitably rollicking start this season.

With its unashamed emphasis on an “entertainment” theme virtually parallel to pure sporting considerations, the eight-team, city-branded tournament will struggle for key early traction if played out before noticeably modest stadium attendances.

Given the challenging economic landscape in the country, robust gates can hardly be taken for granted, and affordability of tickets will potentially be as important as the appeal of the various big names on paper who will be gracing the event.

In an interview with Sport24, CSA chief excutive Haroon Lorgat acknowledged they needed to launch with a bang in 2017.

“I think any new product that you launch, whether you are talking cricket or even things like the clothing on your back, you have got to make the right impact, otherwise it is very difficult to come back from there.

“We are giving it our best, because we have got to make season one a success.

“Ticket arrangements will be announced very, very shortly. The intention was always to open the process after the player draft.

“There is a lot of technical stuff required in getting the ticketing process right, because we are selling globally as well. So the systems and software have had to be (attended to); that is just about sewn up.

“We had to get the agreement of owners as well; they are actually their tickets, so we needed their go-ahead in using a particular platform.”

Would there be a sliding scale of prices, thus interesting as many enthusiasts as possible?

“Correct, it will not be different to our current pricing models for franchise or international cricket,” he said.

“Some seats are at a premium: you will have hospitality where some suites are in better places than others, and then you have your (public) standing or grass banks, so there will definitely be a kind of tiered pricing structure.”

Lorgat acknowledged “some disappointment” at the lack of South African ownership among the franchises.

Only the Pretoria Mavericks, with a consortium headed by entertainment industry figure Osman Osman, come under domestic control, after Brimstone pulled the plug on their intended involvement with the Stellenbosch Monarchs.

“I think economics are at play to an extent, and perhaps a lack of appreciation for this sort of a franchise team model, generating revenues literally out of sporting entertainment.

“Yes, we are disappointed, we really wanted more South African involvement, but we are also pragmatic. Maybe it was a bit beyond both the financial purse and the understanding of how this particular game works … but it’s what it is, in the end.”

He did not write off potential South African investors latching on at a later stage.

“It will depend on existing owners wishing to sell some of their equity. There is an initial lock-in period of three years, where we don’t allow any changes.

“But it is highly possible some of these foreign ownership figures will come in and strike up relationships with local entrepreneurs, high net-worth individuals, corporates, and they may want to strategically sell a stake and get a South African influence on board.”

Lorgat said he was not concerned by the introduction of certain brand names not instantly familiar to many in the SA cricket marketplace … for example, the Durban Qalanders (an extension of the Pakistan Super League franchise Lahore Qalanders, owned by Qatar Lubricants Company) or Benoni Zalmi.

“Don’t forget the city name clearly (comes first). As I may have mentioned before, for us the League is about cricket, but also about city, and country. We are actively encouraging the promotion of those city names -- that’s where South Africa goes to the globe.

“But equally we bring in this different culture, different expertise, different people, and we look to just improve our knowledge-base, our diversity.

“Those names have huge followings elsewhere in the world. There’s a big wide world out there. We know a narrow part of the world … it’s about opening our own minds.

“Qalanders have already shown us amazing things in terms of their development programmes (in Pakistan). You’ll be amazed. What attracted us to them was that they said ‘this is what we want to replicate in South Africa’.

“They are passionate about youth. Of course cricket is what they love, but they are passionate about youth opportunity.

“We don’t have all the skills, all the resources, and if they have a successful model that they could implement even half of over here, it will be 10 times more than we can do at this stage with our limited resources.

“That expertise from across the world will stand us in very good stead.”

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

Read more on:    csa  |  t20 global ­league  |  haroon lorgat  |  cricket
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