JOHANNESBURG - With a uniquely local name, new-look teams, picturesque grounds, a couple of marquee internationals, an overseas broadcast deal, and a local one that will nationalise cricket in a way that’s never happened before in South Africa, is it time to start believing the Mzansi Super League hype?

After all the huff and puff over the failed first league, Cricket South Africa seem to have pulled their act together under chief executive Thabang Moroe and, while the paint might still be drying when the first ball is bowled on Friday night, this thing is happening.

Many of the key elements have fallen into place despite the extremely short timeline since the CSA members’ council’s decided unanimously in mid-September that the league go ahead whatever the challenges. Stadiums have been chosen, teams announced, a player draft completed, a marketing campaign launched and, in the last couple of days, warm-up games played as the teams assembled.

Vitally, CSA have also been able to secure a broadcast deal with Sony Pictures Network (SPN) that will open their league up to an Indian market, the channel broadcasting 28 matches, including the playoff and final on December 16.

“As much as we had the skeleton of what we wanted for the first edition of the Mzansi Super League, there is a lot operationally that we had to make sure were in place and implemented,” Moroe told ESPNcricinfo. “This is the first time for all of us, at the same time we want to see the success and we want to see a quality product that will be well received by the public. So far, so good.”

So far, so good in the short term, but in the long run there remain unanswered questions over the league’s sustainability. CSA recently told a parliamentary committee it expects to lose R 654 million in the next four years. That’s not including a projected R40 million loss in the first season of the MSL, and CSA also lost over R 200 million (USD 14.1 million) following the failure of the inaugural T20 Global League.

Financing the MSL cannot be done without splashing plenty of cash, with the six new franchises each given over R 5 million to spend on their players, and a further R 10 million going towards the prize pot for the tournament. And that’s saying nothing of the transport, logistical, administrative and marketing costs associated with such an endeavour.

CSA has said its annual financial statements would still show “substantial reserves” and first-season losses are nothing unique to the MSL - it took years for IPL teams and the Big Bash League to turn a profit - but their pockets are only so deep, and without incoming tours from England, Australia or India this season they won’t have a lot of cash coming in as it is.

Amid all this, the MSL is positioned a little awkwardly as both a vehicle for expanding cricket’s footprint in South Africa - which is noble but not necessarily financially fruitful, especially without a headline sponsor on board - and a way for CSA to supplement its income. It is believed that CSA offered the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) the exclusive Sub-Saharan broadcasting rights for a cut price - Moroe says he is “not in the position of giving out the details, but there was value in the rights”, while SABC chief operations officer Chris Maroleng called the deal a “lucrative opportunity” for SABC, but no one has said exactly who paid what.

The deal with Sony should help plug a little of the financial shortfall, and CSA does at least have a sellable product, given the quality on the field. Some of the biggest names in T20 cricket - Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, Rashid Khan, Dwayne Bravo - will be taking part, as will all the familiar Protea players (as soon as they get back from Australia).

Pleasingly, there will also be a few Zimbabweans knocking about, which will stoke some interest north of the border, and every squad has had to include young, local rookies.

CSA faces a long and potentially rocky road to fully commercialise its homegrown T20 league, and off the field there will be yet more expenses as the legal battle with the disgruntled owners of the failed T20 Global League threatens to rumble on in court. “We have a legal team tasked with dealing with those matters,” Moroe said. The informed opinion seems to be that the legal wrangling could revolve around the terms of the original contract that the owners signed with CSA - what was warrantied by CSA, and what was not.

While hurdles remain,CSA’s choice, in the cut-throat world of modern sport, was to evolve or die. It might be a little ramshackle, and it’s very last minute, but it has managed - finally - to get a league of its own off the ground.

“Have a look at how, for instance, the Big Bash has taken off and captured the Australian and international markets” Moroe said. “It was natural for South Africa to also have a T20 competition of our own that will attract marquee international players and keep cricket among the top attractions in the country. People want to see a world quality product in our shores - and the Mzansi Super League will offer that.”