The fourth edition of the Dream 11 Vincy Premier League(VPL) has started, igniting immense interest. Apart from the prolonged desire for live sporting action, the VPL as it popularly called, has grown exponentially.
Started in 2020 , soon after the declaration of the pandemic, the VPL was seen then as just another cricket competition. More so at the time, it provided that temporary relief, as the restrictions in sporting activities and otherwise, had taken root.
However, with the second and third editions of the VPL, notably the latter which was held last May, the temperature began to rise. That third edition carried the ratings higher and higher as it attracted bumper crowds especially the last weekend.
So, in that short space of two years, the VPL has become a staple event such that it is on the lips of many locals. Inevitably, the VPL is a highly anticipated event.
The growth has gone beyond the popularity as the pay out for the winners now stands at EC$ 25,000. This makes it the largest prize money for any sporting competitions held in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Predictions are that VPL 5.0, which many believe will be sometime later this year would see another increase in the first prize purse. Indeed, much is there for what has emerged as St Vincent and the Grenadines’ signature sporting event.
Credit must go to the organisers who have kept adding innovations to each edition, making the product fresh every time.
But, beyond the hype, the excitement, the results, and the prize money, what else can be extracted from the exercise?
Are we satisfied with players getting a stipend for their efforts, as well as umpires, scorers, commentators, the streaming company which broadcasts the matches live, and the host of other financial spin offs which the VPL is able to generate?
Similarly, are we contented with the country’s name getting the publicity overseas as we view this as a major plus for us?
But, conversely, are the many promotions of our local sites realised in direct or indirect tourism benefits to St Vincent and the Grenadines?
Therefore, since such information has not been captured or cannot be answered in the affirmative, we have to look to eek out every possible benefit from the staging of the VPL editions .
Powered by Dream 11, the Indian-based betting company, the VPL has obviously carved out a niche for that company.
Undoubtedly, the VPL has produced the goods, provided good, entertaining cricket, and most importantly, allowed the main sponsors to be satisfied, to have them coming back for more.
Hence, St Vincent and the Grenadines has a trump card in its hand and now is the time to bring it to the table.
Is it possible for the organisers, through the St Vincent and the Grenadines Cricket Association to go outside the norms of sponsorship and procure some sort of infrastructural development?`
Likewise, the players who are the showpieces of the VPL, are they being adequately compensated?
This is against the reality that our VPL has not been bankrolled like the major franchise cricket tournaments around the globe, but the players can do well with a top up on the pittance they receive.
The call for more benefits to be derived from the VPL, is not accepting or conforming that we must stay with the notion that half a loaf is better than none at all. Neither can one say that this column’s demands for more tangible derivatives from the VPL are unreasonable.
Without the revelations of the amount of sponsorship for the VPL, it is still safe to conclude from the injection of other facets of the tournament, namely larger prize monies, increased number of overseas players and the likes, more can be done.
The same way that the VPL flavour is growing, likewise should we see players’ take home pay commensurate with the rise in appeal for the event.
Organisers, in keeping with your tagline, let the players especially “ Build a Vibe” financially.