South Africans are going to see the best cricket teams in the world in action during the inaugural International Cricket Council (ICC) World Twenty20 South Africa 2007 in September, at domestic cricket match prices.
This was announced jointly in Johannesburg today by the CEO of Cricket South Africa, and Tournament Director, Steve Elworthy, who also unveiled the tournament logo.
Majola said ticket prices for the action-packed tournament would range from R20 on the grass to R160 in the grandstands, in line with domestic matches.
"This is in keeping with the vision of South African cricket to make the game accessible to all.
"At such prices, whole families can enjoy a number of matches of action-packed cricket throughout the tournament. This even includes a double-header at each venue," he added
Tickets go on sale from 14 June and can be bought from cricket stadia, computicket stores, call centre and at www.computicket.com
South Africa is hosting the first international Twenty20 cricket competition to be staged by the International Cricket Council. For this competition, countries are grouped as follows:
Group A- South Africa, West Indies, Bangladesh;
Group B - Australia, England, Zimbabwe;
Group C - New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Kenya;
Group D - Pakistan, India, Scotland...
The teams were seeded based on their rankings as of the 1 March 2007.The group stages will be followed by the Super Eights, made up of the top two teams in each group, then the semi-finals.
Participating teams are expected to arrive approximately 5 - 7 days before the first match. Two rounds of warm-up matches will be played on the 8 and 9 September 2007.
"The launch event is planned to take place on 26 July in Johannesburg, it will set the tone for the build-up to the non-stop cricket action coming to Wanderers in Johannesburg, Newlands in Cape Town and Kingsmead in Durban," said Elworthy.
"I'm thrilled that we have unveiled the logo, as this allows us to build as much excitement and hype as we can around the tournament," he said.
"The colourful logo depicts the fast-paced action of the format. The bright colours capture the format's youthful and vibrant energy, and the strength in diversity that South Africa is known to stand for globally, Elworthy added.
"The opening ceremony will be held on 11 September at the Wanderers followed by the first match of the tournament between South Africa and West Indies."
He pointed out that "the two semi-finals will be played in the coastal cities on Saturday 22 September, while the final will be staged back at Wanderers on Monday 24 September, which is Heritage Day in South Africa."
Ticket prices for the action-packed tournament, range from R20 on the grass to R160 for the grandstand, prices which are in line with domestic match prices.
"Affordable ticket prices will ensure that young people involved in our cricket pipeline can experience the intensity and professionalism required to play in such international competitions," said Majola.
"Although in South Africa cricket is second after soccer in terms of support, the margin is still significant, and we hope that twenty over cricket will close that gap in the next few years," said Elworthy.
"South Africa is very privileged to be hosting the tournament, with 12 countries participating in this first international competition.
"We are fortunate to be the first to host this event, and it says a lot about the ICC's confidence in South Africa's ability to set a standard for other countries."
During the last season, domestic Twenty20 cricket achieved significant growth compared to other cricket formats. Attendances rose sharply, especially by young South Africans of all races between 16 and 24 years.
The format is also popular among young families (25 - 49years) as it offers fun and entertainment off the field and fast-paced cricket action on-field.
South African Tourism CEO, Moeketsi Mosola, said: "As a regional sponsor for the Twenty20 Cricket World Cup, we are extremely excited that our destination has been chosen to host this event, the first of its kind on South African soil.
"The event gives us a supremely outstanding opportunity to attract the attention of overseas tourists, allowing us to address our commitment to increase tourist volume, spend, length of stay, to encourage geographic spread towards the overall objectives of transformation and empowerment."
"The level and value of global awareness that South Africa can leverage as a result of this massive opportunity cannot be over-estimated," said Mosola.
Ray Mali, Acting President of the International Cricket Council, said in a statement today: "I am thrilled that South Africa is hosting the inaugural ICC World Twenty20. I am sure it is going to be a great event."
Mali added that "Twenty20 international cricket is not meant to replace One Day Internationals or Tests and we are still fully committed to the longer forms of the game. What I think it will do is help to cultivate a new generation of cricket fans, who start off watching Twenty20 and then move on to one-day cricket and multi-day cricket too."
Malcolm Speed, Chief Executive of the International Cricket Council, said in a statement:
"Twenty20 cricket has already captured the imagination of people of all ages with its short and sharp format.
"We've seen its success at the domestic level and we are looking to supplement with a controlled international Twenty20 calendar that has this exciting new tournament as its focal point.
"South Africa has been an early-adopter of Twenty20 cricket and I am sure it will be an excellent venue for the inaugural ICC World Twenty20.
"The legacy of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2003 means that South Africa already has in place exceptional facilities and expertise and I am very confident that Cricket South Africa will host a tremendous event."