Cricket changing An international Indian private league
There is another, unreported narrative that serves as a reminder of how far the game’s privatisation may go. If the expansionist agenda of the Indian Private League clubs has captured the cricket world’s attention in recent months, giving a look into what the future of the game might contain.
An Indian corporation that had previously played in a Twenty20 league in this scenario aspired to buy not only a team but the whole league of a nation. Despite the fact that the agreement fell through at the last minute because a fair price could not be reached, he has not given up on the idea of completing the acquisition.
Should such a move be made, it would only be the next stage in cricket’s corporatization process, which is mostly being driven by a group of Indian businessmen. When the ILT20 in the UAE debuts in January, five of the six participating clubs will be owned by Indian corporations, as will all six participating teams in the parallel South African league.
They already own three of the six clubs in the Caribbean Premier Competition, and they also want to field a squad in the forthcoming United States league. This is not likely the whole extent of cricket’s colonisation by India.
What’s the overall meaning? When you boil it down, the IPL franchises’ penetration into the international cricket scene is a demonstration of Indian cricket’s cumulative financial metabolism, but the perception may differ depending on which side of the fence one chooses to be on.
That was previously shown by India’s control of commercial (and other) choices at the international level and the ICC, where they have been in charge for more than ten years, but it is now squirting out in unexpected directions.
In some respects, the private capital that propelled the BCCI to its all-powerful position has reached a ceiling inside the BCCI-controlled structures, and it is now seeking for new regions in which it can express its ostensibly insatiable thirst for cricket business.
This approach was pioneered by Kolkata Knight Riders, who bought a CPL franchise in 2015. Although ownership of clubs in foreign leagues had been discussed earlier, it still needed someone to investigate the feasibility of such an enterprise.
The Trinbago Knight Riders have been successful in that they have grown their worldwide fan base, attracted greater television ratings, and even turned a profit, in part because of the celebrity power of owner Shah Rukh Khan.
The practise has shown the other IPL owners that there is a market outside of India that can be taken advantage of. The trend intensified when Indian investors won bids for three of the six clubs in Cricket South Africa’s unsuccessful effort to launch a league in 2017 and when Vijay Mallya, Preity Zinta-Ness, and Wadia-Mohit Burman joined forces to buy a CPL franchise.
The massive IPL broadcast rights deal that the BCCI just inked with Star Sports and Viacom, however, is the obvious reason why that trickle of investor interest has transformed into a deluge this year. The IPL owners, notably the original eight, will undoubtedly experience a significant financial windfall as a result of the jackpot of the USD 6 billion-plus contract, which is fueling their growth aspirations.
The original eight franchise owners will keep more of the money as they have fulfilled their 10-year obligation to pay annual franchise fees. Each franchise is now anticipated to collect Rs 400 crore (more than $50 million) for the following five seasons through central revenue sharing.