Nation e-Edition

Digicel may be back on board

Digicel may be back on board Julian Hunte. (FP)

By Justin Marville | Wed, October 24, 2012 - 12:03 AM

Less than a month after winning the T20 World Cup, West Indies cricket appears to have struck gold again.

Cashing in on the recent success of the regional side, the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) seems likely to land a new deal with telecommunications giant Digicel while attracting potential commercial partners.

During Monday’s press conference at Kensington Oval, WICB president Julian Hunte said the board was negotiating possible media rights and commercial rights partnerships without revealing much about the deals.

“We are at an advanced stage both in terms of media rights and commercial rights but where we are at right now I am not in a position to say anything,” said Hunte.

“Hopefully, towards the end of this week, we should be in a position to make an announcement. [But] it looks good in terms of the responses that we have been receiving. Everyone realizes that we are sort of in winners’ row again.

“The win by the West Indies in the World T20 generated a lot of excitement and a lot of interest and we hope emanating from that will usher in a new wave of interested people who will be willing to sponsor our cricket.”

The lucrative multi-year commercial rights deal with Digicel was to expire at the end of last month and there has not been any indication about a renewal.

But Dr Ernest Hilaire, former WICB chief executive officer, had said just before he left office that the board was on the verge of landing an exciting television deal and he was also positive it would get sponsorship for the upcoming regional T20 tournament.

“It looks very positive in terms of the outcome of those negotiations,” said Hunte when asked about those possible deals.

“We are talking to a group of businesess, but I can’t mention their name, and I hope that they will come in time for this season.”

If the board does attract a sponsor for the Caribbean T20 it would be the first time in two seasons that a domestic competition would be funded by an entity other than the WICB.

With or without sponsorship though, Hunte revealed that none of the regional competitions was ever under threat because of a lack of funding.

“I have always held the position that our domestic tournaments, if we cannot get a sponsor, that we have a responsibility to find the resources in order to do it,” Hunte affirmed.

“Of course, if you get a sponsor then those resources can be employed elsewhere as it relates to our development.”

The WICB was also recently granted $3 million over three years by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in what Hunte described as a targeted assistance performance programme, which the board plans to direct towards coaching development.

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