Picture: REUTERS/Jason Reed
Picture: REUTERS/Jason Reed

Embattled Cricket SA received a boost when it secured a title sponsor for the financially haemorrhaging Mzansi Super League (MSL).

“We have signed a title sponsorship. I am not at liberty to tell you at this point who it is because we like to keep the announcement up to our sponsors‚” Cricket SA acting CEO Kugandrie Govender said.

“So they [the new sponsor] have said they would like to time it according to their calendar.

It is understood  the new sponsor has been contracted for five years but Govender would not be drawn into discussing the details.

Govender hopes the third edition of the MSL will be played in the traditional late November to early December slot‚ but she admitted Covid-19 restrictions will dictate the circumstances.

“What I am concerned about is that we may not be able to put out a product like we did in the first two editions in terms of Covid-19 restrictions and what we want with the international players [coming to SA].

“Remember our revenue comes from international broadcasters mostly and we need those international players for the MSL.”

Govender said the MSL remains an important project for Cricket SA and confirmed public broadcaster SABC will for the third successive year show it live on its platforms.

The MSL has bled money, having cost Cricket SA up to R210m since its inception two years ago.

“But now we are on the right path again. Let’s not forget that the Indian Premier League broke even in year 10‚ the Australian Big Bash broke even in year six. So I think the MSL will break even a lot sooner than that‚” she said.

Govender said Cricket SA’s commercial programmes are the strongest they have been despite the organisation’s image and reputation taking a nosedive over the past year and a half.

“As you know‚ we have signed two headline sponsorship during lockdown‚ which is something I don’t think we are claiming enough credit for‚ given the fact that the last time we signed a headline sponsorship was with Sunfoil in 2009.”

Cricket SA lost a R100m-a-year headline sponsorship from Standard Bank in April but took first steps towards recovery after getting betting company Betway on board in July with Govender heading the commercial wing.

The betting company concluded a three-year deal with CSA as the headline event sponsor for the men’s Test and ODI teams‚ as well as official sponsor of the men’s T20 and the women’s team.

In June‚ Cricket SA got another shot in the arm when the organisation retained KFC as title sponsors of the Proteas Twenty20 Internationals and the KFC mini-cricket programme.

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