The inaugural Limacol Caribbean Premier League (LCPL) is set to finish with a bang after it was confirmed that the two semi-finals and final at the Queen’s Park Oval are sold out.
The “full house” signs going up for the three matches – with Guyana Amazon Warriors and Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel meeting on Thursday and Friday seeing Barbados Tridents clash with the Jamaica Tallawahs before Saturday’s final – confirm a trend that has been clear throughout the event involving six regional franchises that began on 30 July.
That trend has included, most recently, sell-outs on successive days at Sabina Park, Jamaica last weekend, and the first-ever sell-out at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua last Saturday.
It is a trend the players have noticed.
Jamaica Tallawahs captain Chris Gayle said, “To get such a huge turn-out in the (Limacol) CPL is fantastic. The only other place where you get these sorts of crowds is in the IPL (Indian Premier League).
“So (the Limacol CPL) ranks right up there with the other tournaments, which is really great to see. I am really happy that things have progressed and it can only get bigger and better from here on,” he said.
Barbados Tridents captain Kieron Pollard said, “In international games this year (in the Caribbean) and in the years before, we (the West Indies) have not gotten this type of support and this type of crowd.
“It is good for us as cricketers and good for the Caribbean people and hopefully it can continue and get bigger.”
Pakistan all-rounder Shoaib Malik, Pollard’s team-mate with the Tridents, added: “The response from the West Indies people has been awesome.
Whenever you are playing a league it is about people coming to the ground – that is the key to success, and I have seen that here. People have been coming from everywhere. I was talking to the Jamaica players and they were saying ‘We were not expecting much of a crowd in Jamaica’, but we played there and even in a day game I saw the ground full and energetic. It is a great thing.”
Limacol CPL Chief Executive Officer Damien O’Donohoe said: “We always believed the Limacol Caribbean Premier League had potential but the public interest, reflected in the attendances at all the matches, has still been beyond our expectations.
“The high attendances have gone hand-in-hand with the strong commercial support for the tournament, illustrated by the significant number of sponsors we have on board, and the interest in the event from outside the cricketing world, with Hollywood stars Mark Wahlberg and Gerard Butler taking equity stakes in the Barbados Tridents and the Jamaica Tallawahs respectively.
“It is all indicative of an event that has not only been a huge success but also one that has the potential to continue to grow in the coming years. Cricket fans in the Caribbean are the best in the world. The carnival atmosphere at every game has been phenomenal and on behalf of everyone at LCPL I want to thank them for their support,” he added.
The inaugural Limacol Caribbean Premier League runs until 24 August with the two semi-finals taking place on 22 and 23 August and the final on 24 August.