Organisers aiming to deliver bigger CPL tourney
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC):
Caribbean Premier League organisers are aiming to build on last year's record numbers, when the fourth edition of the Twenty20 tournament bowls off in June.
Chief Executive Damien O'Donohoe said while they had seen a near 50 per cent increase in attendance last season, they were hoping to trump this in order to make the upcoming season the best one yet.
"Last year was our most successful campaign to date, where we welcomed over 302,000 fans through the gates, which represented an increase of 44 per cent from the previous season," O'Donohoe said following the official draft for the 2016 season which took place here Thursday.
"This year, we are going to work even harder to build on this strong platform and engage our growing international audience. It is without doubt our most exciting roster of talent, with some of the biggest names signed up for what is the biggest party in sport.
The draft saw a significant overhaul of most franchises as owners and officials sought to freshen up their squads ahead of the new campaign.
Barbados Tridents, the 2014 champions, picked up South African star AB de Villiers and his countrymen, David Wiese and Wayne Parnell, but lost the likes of Dwayne Smith and Rayad Emrit both to Guyana Amazon Warriors.
Minnows St Kitts and Nevis Patriots strengthened significantly with the capture of South African batsman Faf du Plessis and West Indies opener Lendl Simmons, along with Australian Brad Hodge. St Lucia Zouks, who have also struggled in the competition to date, landed hard-hitting batsman David Miller and Australian all-rounder Shane Watson, while retaining West Indies Twenty20 skipper Darren Sammy.