The Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) on Tuesday announced that the tournament, which was hosted between September 4 and October 12, 2019, created a total economic impact of US$29,514,926 in Guyana. This represents a 15 per cent increase from previous years. A calculation is used every year by using organiser spend, visitor spend and media value and was collated for the tournament by world-renowned researchers, YouGov Sport. According to CPL, in addition to the economic impact figure, the tournament filled 7664 hotel rooms in Guyana, saw an increase in overall arrivals into the country during the period, and 608 jobs were created.
The CPL is a good example of the tremendous benefits that could be derived from a sporting event of that magnitude. Guyana, through the CPL, has benefited significantly from sports tourism since the inception of the tournament. The games’ economic impact locally has been both direct and indirect. With five group games and two playoff matches taking place in Guyana during 2019, the CPL was correct in its assessment that the fans were treated to seven fantastic cricket matches with their team once again making the final. Guyana’s National Stadium at Providence saw sold-out audiences for home games and this is what CPL has come to represent as it continues to bring people from all backgrounds together in a national demonstration of unity for a common cause. As was stated previously, a mere glance at any given moment during a game at Providence could question the existence of the national crisis which had dominated the news in months leading up to the tournament. Partisanship seemed abandoned as camaraderie and unbridled support once again took over. This is how it has been since the CPL commenced in 2013 and the organisers and franchises must be commended and encouraged to continue providing the opportunities to help unify. With a sea of colours from the waving flags of Guyana’s home team – Amazon Warriors – and that of the country, accompanied by the blaring rhythmic music often drowned out by the collective deafening screams of fans, the positive influence of the of cricket through the CPL is pellucid. The power of the game to affect the bypassing of differences and for rallying in unison for a common cause is never in doubt. Of course, naturally, there would have been disappointment over the Warriors not yet claiming the title. However, that has never prevented the overwhelming support local fans have given the team with Guyana probably the highest fan turn out for the tournament.
The Providence Stadium, which has proven its worth over the years, will once again burst into life as cricket superstars from across the globe battle for supremacy. Guyana will once again be in the international spotlight as millions will join the global live broadcast from the East Bank corridor. The benefits of such international exposure are priceless as are those that redound to the local economy from the hosting of CPL games. Cricket has always been seen as a unifying force across the region. Here at home, CPL and the exciting exploits of the Guyana Amazon Warriors have created a formidable platform for the furtherance of that process. Guyana must, therefore, capitalise on the economic successes of CPL and work towards further developing sports tourism in general. The tournament has provided stakeholders here a perfect opportunity to create a sustained sports tourism initiative. What the Hero CPL Chief Operating Officer, Pete Russell said about Guyana on Tuesday was profound. He said: “There is nothing like watching cricket in Guyana, and we were so pleased with how welcome we were made once again”. That speaks to the true Guyanese spirit!