The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the richest body in world cricket, has come up with a plan to help countries facing losses due to the cancellation of cricket worldwide -- although the idea is contingent on games resuming.
According to BCCI officials who do not wish to be named, the board has carried out an exercise to evaluate just how much income each cricketing nation has lost during the pandemic. They added that BCCI secretary Jay Shah has promised solutions to FTP restructuring during an ICC meeting this week, which effectively means that India has vouched to play more bilateral matches against smaller teams once the pandemic ends -- a move that will help generate revenue for their cricket boards. Shah is BCCI's representative on the ICC.
Later this year, the new Future Tours Programme (FTP) for the years 2023-2031 will be finalised; the ICC continues to be heavily dependent on the BCCI for revenue.
The Indian cricket team is scheduled to tour four countries over the next twelve months. It will play six limited-over matches in Sri Lanka, four Test matches in Australia, three limited-over matches in Zimbabwe and three T20Is in South Africa. These bilateral tours will take precedence over all else, including the T20 World Cup that is scheduled to be held in Australia in October, once international cricket resumes, the BCCI officials added.
"India will look to honour each of those commitments, as soon as we can," one of them said.
Although the ICC has chosen to wait and watch before cancelling the T20 World Cup this year, the BCCI official said that the chances of the event going ahead are slim.
"Is the ICC serious when it expects eight venues to be available to them for a World Cup in October? Will all governments permit outbound travel in a sixteen-nation world event?" he asked. "Cricket Australia is thinking of holding multiple Test matches in a single venue for India's tour in December. How will they arrange eight venues for a World Cup ?"
The T20 World Cup is not a priority for the BCCI, and neither is the Asia Cup. The Indian board is estimated to annually earn Rs 2500 crore from the IPL (Indian Premier League) and around Rs 950 crores from bilateral cricket in 2020-21. It earns Rs 380 crores ($405million for 8 years) yearly from its share of ICC revenue.
In the current eight-year FTP cycle, the ECB makes $139 million from the ICC, while each of Cricket Australia, Cricket South Africa, Pakistan Cricket Board, New Zealand Cricket, Sri Lanka Cricket, Cricket West Indies and Bangladesh Cricket Board make $128 million . Zimbabwe gets $94 million.
Each of these cricket boards, including BCCI, stand to earn around Rs 60-90 crore from the T20 World Cup. BCCI makes Rs 60 crores for just one home match from its deal with broadcaster Star.
"While we know that India can't possibly tour every other country in a short span of time, it is possible to add matches to the existing home calendar and help other member boards out by covering current losses," the BCCI official said. "A part of the proceeds from extra matches held in India may be given to the visiting team." When other countries host India, they usually make much more money from media and other rights than when they host other teams. "A Part of the proceeds from extra matches held in India may be given to the visiting team," he said.
When other countries host India, they usually make much more money from media and other rights than whne they host other teams. Only India, England and New Zealand's cricket boards aren't making losses. Cricket Australia has already taken a $20 million hit, furloughed its staff and is currently negotiating a pay cut for players. To make up for all of that, CA wants India to play an extra Test in the December series.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has offered to co-host the IPL, to benefit from staging fees. SLC as well as Cricket West Indies are out to sell their media rights and in the current market scenario, have found no takers. "It's a known market practice that the valuation of most media rights deal depend on a certain number of matches with India," a cricket administrator who did not want to be identified said.
The IPL, if and when it happens, will also benefit other cricket boards. Each board receives 20% of earnings of their players -- as a release fee. In the suspended thirteenth season of the IPL, overseas players are slated to make a total of around R240 crore. That's a cool Rs 48 crore for their boards.
The market economics may be skewed in favour of India, but BCCI no longer holds the same clout as it once did in the ICC boardroom. By helping other boards navigate this turbulent phase, BCCI will also be hoping to get some of that influence back.