11 Apr

The under-threat Mzansi Super League has survived being completely called off from next season’s South African domestic season, but is reportedly put on notice. The league in the first two editions failed to secure a title sponsor or commercial deal from the local broadcast rights partner and that had led to uncertainty over its status. Cricket South Africa (CSA) have been forced to bear the financial burden of the first two editions. CSA have absorbed the majority of the tournament’s running costs.

In the first edition in 2018 CSA lost $4.5 million and in the 2019 editions loses went above $5 million. It is been reported in the local media that league has been given one last chance of survival. The 32-match tournament, which runs across November and December and attracts a handful of overseas stars, may yet be downsized but will remains part of the calendar for this year.

The business model of the troubled domestic T20 tournament is set to be changed as the board aims to reduce huge financial losses. It has also reportedly been decided that league window will be pushed now only to December. The biggest change CSA will bring to the table is to move out of the domestic broadcast deal with South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). It is widely reported that the national broadcaster did not pay anything for the rights to the league. The acting Chief Executive Officer of CSA Jacques Fall confirmed the development.
‘We’re still in the final negotiations, but I can confirm that there will be MSL 2020. We’re working through the details and the final contracts. We cannot give too many details other than stating that a third edition of the MSL will take place,’ said Faul.

Whether CSA can secure a partner for television hosting rights, though, remains in the balance. One thing is sure that with the organization looking to drastically reduce costs going forward, the MSL is potentially on its last legs.

In India the league was broadcasted live on Sony Pictures Network but failed to deliver any notable viewership. The Jozi Stars won the inaugural MSL in 2018, after beating the Cape Town Blitz in the final. The Paarl Rocks are the reigning champions, having beaten the Tshwane Spartans in the 2019 final.

John Stephenson


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