CHENNAI: The International Cricket Council’s (ICC) decision to have a global event every year in the calendar between 2023-31 is paving the way for a confrontation. The BCCI, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and possibly Cricket Australia (CA) will oppose the move, with the other seven full members in favour of it. The matter will be up for discussion in ICC’s quarterly meeting in March. As things stand, the BCCI is not happy with the manner the international body has gone about preparing the calendar and believes it will have its way.
The ICC in an email to its members, including the associates, has asked them to express interest should they wish to host any of the 20 global events from 2023-31. Apart from World T20 and 50-over World Cups, the ICC has reportedly included two new events called the T20 Champions Cup and ODI Champions Cup, which will be held every four years involving the top 10 and top six teams, respectively. As reported by this newspaper, the Big 3 (BCCI, ECB, CA) have been opposing the move to have new global events other than the existing ones. They believe it will result in revenue loss, as they will be playing fewer bilateral series.
Though the BCCI has not made an attempt to expedite the process of expressing dissatisfaction because it believes there is time, the ICC’s decision to speed things up has more to do with the future of other member nations. While the bilateral series continue to be profitable for the Big Three, the same cannot be said of other boards, especially with so many T20 leagues mushrooming across the globe. Unless India and one of Australia and England play them at least once annually, they find it difficult to generate revenue from bilateral series. Instead, if they commit to a global event and sign the Members Playing Agreement, they are guaranteed around $120-125 million in the cycle.
“The ICC wants to push it so that it can help these boards. At the moment, the BCCI and ICC are far from reaching an agreement. But whatever happens, an extra global event is not acceptable to the BCCI. Moreover, by having an event every year, the ICC is trying to dilute the World Cup and T20 World Cup,” a BCCI official told this newspaper.The BCCI, which expects ECB and CA to oppose this proposal in March, is aware of the monetary considerations of the other boards. That ICC CEO Manu Sawhney, who is at the forefront of this plan hasn’t met them even once, but has met every other board hasn’t gone unnoticed by the BCCI. But they believe an alternative formula can be devised. Making things complicated is the fact that the boards of Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and South Africa have their broadcast rights up for renewal this year.
With the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) not having any bilateral series with India, they expect their value to go down considerably and considering the dwindling fortunes of their teams, Cricket South Africa and Sri Lanka Cricket too expect rate cuts. Incidentally, rights of all these boards are owned by the same broadcaster and they are finding it difficult to sell the rights this time.“There are only two-three big players when it comes to broadcast deals. To sell it to them, these boards need an affirmative plan. So unless the Big 3 guarantee a bilateral series with them every year, others will take up the ICC offer. The television market isn’t similar to what was before, with digital platforms in play,” sources in the ICC said.