REPUBLIC BANK is now the title sponsor of the annual Caribbean Premier League (CPL), which bowls off from August 16 to September 24. The bank will also partner for the second edition of the Women's CPL, which will take place in Barbados and TT, with the final to be held in Trinidad.
The announcements were made on Wednesday at a press conference at the Queen's Park Oval, Port of Spain.
The bank – the first local title sponsor – takes over from India-based Hero Motorcorp, which had succeeded Limacol, of the New Guyana Pharmaceutical Company Incorporated.
Republic Bank managing director Nigel Baptiste said the company is thrilled to be expanding its partnership with the CPL. The agreement will run for the next three years.
Baptiste said the company's relationship with CPL started since 2015 as the official bank of the tournament, which has not changed.
Known for its sponsorship of the the Republic Youth Football Cup, Baptiste said, "Sports and youth development are two of the core values in our organisation." He sad the bank "jumped" at the opportunity to enhance its partnership with CPL.
"It was an opportunity we felt the group could not bypass.
"On every island of the Caribbean you will find children playing cricket, with any piece of equipment they can use to play cricket... It is that passion that Republic Bank and the CPL really supports. It is that passion we are looking to fuel."
Baptiste noted that Republic Bank operates in 14 territories including Barbados, Guyana, St Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis and TT – all countries where CPL matches are played.
Baptiste said the bank is also investing in a Five for Fun initiative – a five-over, five-player format for primary schools – which will help nurture the next generation of players. The programme was piloted in St Lucia and Guyana and will soon roll out in all Caribbean countries where Republic Bank operates.
The bank also has a Spirit of the Caribbean cricket online platform which encourages cricket-lovers to share memories, anecdotes and opinions of the game.
Baptiste said, "Our love for the sport in the Caribbean has united us over the decades. It is our intention to build on that unity and ensure cricket becomes a vehicle for the further unification of the Caribbean."
CPL CEO Pete Russell described Republic Bank as "the perfect partner for the CPL and WCPL, a company that shares our passion for cricket and Caribbean culture." He said it is his dream that players from the Five for Fun will one day compete in the CPL.
Revealing that CPL is the second most watched T20 tournament in the world, Russell said, "The CPL is a driver of economic growth and the creation of jobs, so having a financial group like Republic Bank as the title sponsor makes perfect sense.
"In addition, Republic Bank has a great track record of spreading the love of cricket across the region, something that is important to all of us at the CPL."
CPL recently announced a record 721.8million viewership for last year's tournament. CPL added that research company YouGov Sport also estimated that the 2022 CPL had a US$46,791,270 million impact on TT, a 54 per cent increase on the figure from the last time CPL had matches with fans in the stadium in 2019.
Asked about new stars coming to the fore for the 2023 edition, Russell said he was heartened to see the West Indies beat South Africa 2-1 in a T20 international series on Tuesday. WI skipper Rovman Powell, 29, pacer Alzarri Joseph, 26, Johnson Charles, 34, Nicholas Pooran, 27, Brandon King, 28, and Romario Shepherd, 28, all chipped in with good performances on tour.
"We see those players preforming day in, day out (in the CPL). I am never surprised when West Indies do what they do – and what was nice, they played in a way that was very Caribbean. They didn't shy away; they scored over 250 and got beaten but they went again. To score over 200 twice is an exceptional feat. We think cricket in the Caribbean is in a good place. There is plenty of talent coming."
With the ICC World T20 2024 tournament to be held in the West Indies and the US, Russell was asked whether CPL was still interested in a breakthrough in that market. However, he said that CPL's "experiments" in the US are over and they will focus their energies on strengthening the Caribbean brand.