Archive for April 30, 2009

SRK packed off from the Cricket arena. IPL franchisees’ Deccan , & Royals- selling stake

It is lot of restructuring at BCCI. Ever since the ICC pushed for an early resolution with ICL and the Essel groups’ response to failed negotiations with strong legal actions have caused a lot of concern for the BCCI. The IPL cash-cow too has left a lot of loop holes in the second season. The announced deal and revised hike by IPl broadcaster Sony; is not all black and white. According to sources it seems that Sony will not part with cash and some parts of the revised hike, is in format of barter to the IPL & its franchisees- in terms of free air time for promotion. Tickets are being sold at a low rate of only about Rs 100. Even this low rate is not educing full houses and false propaganda of sell-out matches have become part of the IPL fictional folklore. This has left the franchisees with lot of heartburn; the central revenue (largely coming from the Bradcaster fee) may not see a hike in actual cash-flow as is being proclaimed by IPL officials. Gate receipts are a long foregone history making the red on franchisee balance-sheet’s far more prominent and dark.
SRK ill- advised to drop his city loyalty base and reposition his team into a pan global identity has met with dust. Latest reports that the Bollywood Badshah is on his way out of the IPL circus, further compounded by his teams’ disastrous cricket performance. Despite better cricket performances Rajashtan Royals & Kings 11 Punjab are financially bleeding and are looking for stake holders to keep the ship floating. The only way IPL franchisees’ can be bailed out is in form of additional central revenue from IPL. However that seems a distant reality with Sony officials admitting that offering additional broadcast fees was a mistake, especially after learning that the competitive suitors NDTV & ESPN were never serious about paying the revised rates demanded by the IPL body. Sony now has offered the IPL and its franchisee a strict part payment in barter (free air time for promotion) that results in lack on additional cash revenue from the central revenue system offered by IPL to its franchisees.

The BCCI changing its ICL stance largely lies on the fact that –an aggressive Essel group is going on the offensive. Sources at Essel, state that time for negotiations are over & they are looking at legal suits being filed both in India & internationally. Its strong legal ground means that BCCI has to try to break the ICL player pool by offering them the IPL and domestic cricket carrot. However, most ICL domestic talents are skeptical about the BCCI offer. Reason being, most are being paid about 30 lakhs plus by the ICL – returning to BCCI hardly guarantees them a place in the Ranji sides or IPL teams. A ranji player would pocket 20 lakhs in a financial year and no player wants a dip in his income. Secondly except for a few players like Rohan Gavaskar, none of the players are certain of a place in the Ranji or IPL Squads. The total number of ICL players from the domestic stable is about 80. SO no more than 10% are assured of an IPL or Ranji place! The only way they can be accommodated in the IPL is by addition in number of IPL teams; strongly objected by existing IPL franchisees as that reduces their share of the pie in regards of the central revenue. The ICL players are also aware of the treatment meted out to Md kaif, Vidhyut Shivramakrisnan, Sanjay Bangar , Akash Chopra et al by the IPL franchisees- making the transition from ICL to IPL a very risky financial proposition. The international guys like Shane Bond are drawing salaries to the tune of $ 8,00,000 ( 4 crores) from the ICL so they would not make the shift unless IPL offers the same amount. Post the Peterson & Flintoff debacle it seems IPL franchisees would not loosen their purse strings easily ;having burnt their fingers with expensive propositions. Therefore it may not seem as easy for the BCCI to break the ICL player pool ; justified that no single individual ICL player has been mentioned other than Sandeep Patil, who according to sources did not fair well in the ICL called – Sports performance evaluation. His side Mumbai Champs always figured last in the ICL tournaments and major restructuring was on the cards as far as that team was concerned.

These look interesting times for the BCCI president Shashank Manohar. His dislike for Lalit Modi is well documented by his absence at both the first and second seasons of IPL. His boss and mentor Sharad Pawar too has distanced himself from Lalit Modi in season-2. Srinivasan, Rajeev Shukla and Niranjan Shah ( BCCI powerbrokers) are fence sitters and waiting for the election results. Rumors are also afloat that if the congress returns to power Lalit Modi’s stint in Indian cricket would be history.
If the ICL issue was not enough then the BCCI also has to content with the APL ( American Premiere League). The BCCI wants to monopolize the game but an over priced IPL has broadcasters and prospective sponsors looking at private leagues like the ICL & upcoming APL as a more value for money proposition. These are interesting times in cricket Will the monopoly of BCCI continue or will it have to share space with ICL & APL? It’s an answer that only time will tell.

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