Global Sports Commerce awarded wide remit for South African T20 league
Cricket South Africa has appointed Global Sports Commerce, a network of sports, technology and management companies, as the international commercial and broadcast partner for the Mzansi Super League T20, the new domestic Twenty20 competition that gets under way next month.
CSA revealed that a title sponsor is also close to being secured for the inaugural edition, which runs from 9 November to 16 December, amid reports in the country that a deal with Chinese electronics giant Huawei broke down.
The contract with GSC runs until the end of the 2022 competition, with the network to use its subsidiaries, including ITW Consulting, the Indian sports management company, to commercialise the competition "across television, digital and event sponsorship."
ITW Consulting has considerable experience in cricket, recently brokering sponsorship deals on behalf of Sri Lanka Cricket and Ireland Cricket.
M.S. Muralidharan, chief executive of Singapore-headquartered GSC, said: “The GSC family, including its South Africa-based affiliates, Megapro and Megaview, will bring into the event its global technology expertise with cutting edge technologies in Television/Content Production, Event Presentation and Immersive fan experience.
“GSC is committed to providing to the fans of cricket an unmatched visual experience. The brands associated with the event, brought in by its premier commercial arm, ITW Consulting, will gain a superior return on their investment.”
Thabang Moroe, CSA chief executive, said GSC was “yet another global brand that has put its faith in our administration, our governance and our players for a considerable period of time.”
He added: “As their name indicates, GSC have a global sporting presence as a major player in the organisation of sporting events around the world and already have considerably experience of South African sport through their investment in Megapro and Megaview. They will assist us both financially and with expertise.”
The Mzansi Super League T20 [Mzansi is an informal name for South Africa] held its player draft in Johannesburg yesterday, filling six squads with 16 players each.
At the draft, Clive Eksteen, the CSA commercial manager, said of the commercial programme: “There are no corporate sponsors yet. There is still a lot of work to do around all of that. We are close, very close, and hopefully in the next day or so there will be some announcements and that will get the ball rolling.”
Last month, CSA struck an exclusive deal with SABC for the new Twenty20 league, albeit the crippling financial situation at the country's public-service broadcaster means it is not paying for the rights for the first year certainly.
At the time Moroe said the agreement “is much in line with CSA’s vision of making cricket a truly national sport of excellence that is accessible to all.”
The league was thrown into doubt in August when pay-TV's SuperSport pulled out of an equity partnership with CSA, claiming that it had "used our best endeavours to reach consensus with CSA around that shareholding model, but this has unfortunately not happened."
SuperSport, an established broadcaster of South African cricket, had been due to show the tournament across sub-Saharan Africa, and provide the TV feed to international broadcasters.
The Mzansi Super League T20 is a replacement for the CSA’s initial project – the T20 Global League – which was abandoned last year because of the lack of a major TV deal and sponsorship.