The Sunshine Coast is set to feature within a new privately owned Twenty20 cricket league backed by high profile owners which will cater for juniors through to seniors.
The Australian Premier League (APL) formally launched the Brisbane Premier League on Monday.
It is set to kick off next year and feature eight franchises from across southeast Queensland.
The region will be represented in the league via the privately owned Coastal Marlins.
Australian Cricket Institute founder and co-founder of the BPL, Nick Fitzpatrick, is one of the faces behind the Marlins alongside the owner of Coastal Connect Electrical Dylan Pinkstone, his brother Jared and Coast lawyer Travis Schultz.
The Courier Mail reported that five of the eight Brisbane teams had been purchased for about $100,000 for a three-year ownership period.
They also reported franchise owners were believed to include several well known cricket identities.
The BPL will be an amateur T20 tournament with the junior competition catering for U12s, U13s, U15s, U17s, U19s, and a female U17s.
Players will be selected via a draft system similar to that of the AFL.
Each franchise will also have a senior side.
Similar to the Indian Premier League, each franchise will pick players for their senior team through an auction night, each with a fantasy salary cap.
Among the new league’s backers is former Australian and Queensland legend Ian Healy and former England A captain, author, presenter and commentator Mark Nicholas.
Fitzpatrick was elated to have the competition formally launched and said it would help create an additional pathway and opportunity for players.
“Kids don’t get a lot of chances to play T20 so they’re watching Brisbane Heat on TV but the product that they’re getting at club level is completely different,” Fitzpatrick said.
“So, we’re just trying to bridge that gap and give kids a chance to play the brand of cricket that they’re watching on television.
“The other thing for us is at the moment is there isn’t a really a clear pathway for a player to play in the big bash.
“They’ve got to play two-day club cricket and impress on that.
“Most players get picked up in state squads and they’ve got to get picked in those four-day state squads.
“So, we’re just looking to create a clearer pathway for juniors to see how they can get to play for their big bash teams.”
The seven other franchises in the BPL are the Northern Kings, Gold Coast Waveriders, Moreton Magic, Western Power, Bayside Pirates, Southern Storm and the Darling Dingoes.
Fitzpatrick said the senior competition would be held over four weekends in August next year with the junior competition to be held over four days in the September school holidays.
“It’s not like a full season where they train every week,” he said.
“It’d be up to the individual franchises and their coaches whether they have one or two or three catch ups before the tournament.”
He said franchises would host entire rounds and hoped the Marlins would have hosting rights at the Maroochydore Cricket Club fields.
There will also be revenue raising opportunities to provide support back to clubs by leveraging the use of their grounds for APL games.
The APL and BPL was formed on the back of the immense success of the National Premier League (NPL) in South Africa.
Over 11 years the NPL competition has resulted in three successful leagues, 25 franchises and more than 2000 players participating.