South Africa is set to be the host of this year's Champions League T20 in October (between October 9 to 28)*, with Cape Town, Johannesburg, Centurion and Durban as the venues. The decision is yet to be formally announced but Sundar Raman, a member of the CLT20's technical committee, confirmed it through a tweet.
This will be the second time - the first was in 2010 - in four years that the CLT20, the world's most lucrative club-cricket tournament, will be held in South Africa. India had hosted the tournament in the other two years, and were originally frontrunners to hold the competition in 2012 as well.
South Africa's summer will just be beginning in October, which means temperatures will rise into the 20s for Johannesburg and Centurion. Durban will be its usual warm self while Cape Town can be expected to be cooler, as it was for last year's Australia Test. The pitches will be fairly lively up on the Highveld (Johannesburg and Centurion), while Durban should also help quick bowlers.
The governing council of the CLT20 had met last month in an attempt to finalise the format and venue of this season's tournament, but hadn't been able to reach a decision. One confirmed change from last season is the inclusion of Sialkot Stallions, Pakistan's domestic champions.
The other teams which have made it to, at least the qualifying stage of the tournament, are: Kolkata Knight Riders, Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Daredevils, Mumbai Indians (all four from the IPL), Auckland Aces (from New Zealand), Trinidad & Tobago (from West Indies), Sydney Sixers, Perth Scorchers (both from Australia's Big Bash League), Titans, Lions (both from South Africa). The representatives from Sri Lanka and England will be decided after next month's Sri Lanka Premier League and the ongoing Friends Life t20.
The IPL teams will be treading familiar ground in South Africa but the franchises will miss out on the opportunity to keep the momentum generated by the big crowds that turned out during the 2012 IPL. Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Daredevils in particular benefitted from the surge in attendance and the CLT20 would have been the ideal opportunity to keep their fans engaged and coming to the stadiums, especially with Knight Riders winning it all this season.
Playing in South Africa also increases the operating costs for the IPL Teams, while reducing the exposure their sponsors get from being associated with the teams. The only potential benefit is that it gives the teams a chance to reach out to their overseas fans, something the Daredevils hope to capitalise on.
"The Indian teams that have qualified for the tournament are all familiar with the conditions there since IPL 2009 was held there," TA Sekar, Head (Cricket), GMR Sports - the owners of Daredevils - said. "The Champions League T20 being played in South Africa will [also] let the IPL teams enhance their fan base."
South African franchises, though, will not make substantial gains from hosting the tournament. The two participating franchises, Lions and Titans, will receive their participation fees and any prize money while the four unions based at the stadiums will be paid hosting fees. Any profit made by CSA, as shareholders of the event, will be credited to them and distributions to affiliates will take place out of a pool, in accordance with normal procedure.
(Additional reporting by Tariq Engineer)
* - 0700GMT, Jul 3, 2012 - The actual dates were added after they were confirmed by Cricket South Africa, Cricket Australia and the BCCI