CPL stars in Lauderhill for Florida Tournament Launch
The official cricket season has arrived in South Florida, as the Caribbean Premiere League (CPL) held their official launch of their inaugural Florida Games, at the Central Broward Regional Park this past week. Local officials were on hand to honor the historic occasion, including Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness, who led the campaign to bring official league games to the Sunshine state.
“There is going to be something here for everyone,” said Holness at the official launch. “I believe that engaging my generation will help reconnect children, the next generation to the sport.”
West Indies cricketer and bowler for the St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots, Trinidadian Samuel Badree also spoke at the press conference in honor of the occasion, along with homegrown talent, Steven Taylor – a Miramar, FL native picked again this year to play for the Barbados Tridents.
“It means a lot to me. This is where I grew up playing cricket,” said Taylor about the CPL launching their inaugural games in South Florida. “It’s a great experience for me playing in my home town. It’s a big boost for me. As a young player in the U.S. You won’t have the experience to play with most of the big [players]. “[So] me playing with AB [de Villiers] and [Kieron] Pollard is a warm and loving feeling.”
Badree also noted the historic game as “a once in a lifetime opportunity for the Caribbean diaspora to come and see their local stars from back home, live and in living color.”
Whether the CPL will return next year to South Florida, CPL PR Head Peter Breen express enthusiastic hope that games will return to the Sunshine State as a regular part of the season.
“The ambition to come to America has been here for a long time and certainly we want to stay,” said Breen. “There is a purpose build stadium here, ready for action. Everyone will access everything at the end of the season, and at the end of this leg of matches. But if interest alone is an indicator, it’s been very positive, [showing] that there is an appetite in this market for top class, professional cricket in America and in and around South Florida. Certainly we’re committed to maintaining and retaining the culture of Caribbean cricket, and enhancing it hopefully in the years to come. We see America as a massive market to grow our sport.
To encourage Florida as a cricket destination for the future, and foster greater fandom for the support among South Florida, League sponsor, Caribbean Airlines, also announced plans to support flights for those wanting to see the games in the region.
“With the League now hosting games in Fort Lauderdale, CAL are for the first time taking our players to the USA, and I am sure many fans will be flying the “CPL Express” for the matches there,” said Commercial Director for CPL T20, James Stewart.
“Caribbean Airlines understands the value of sport to the Caribbean and cricket has always been a uniting force for both teams and fans within the region,” said Colville Carrington, CEO (Ag) of Caribbean Airlines. “CAL is delighted to support this exciting tournament.”
CPL matches between all 6 league teams will be played in Fort Lauderdale at the Central Broward Stadium from July 28th to 31st. Last week, CPL reported that 60 percent of the four-day game series has already be sold out.