Aussie BIG BASH T20 cricket programme fails to attract big bucks

Peter Lalor, in the Australian 14 October 2011 under a different title

 NONE of the eight Big Bash League sides has attracted a major sponsor for the tournament, which kicks off in December, but one state has found a potential private investor and hopes to get board approval later this month.  The teams are struggling to attract sponsorships and have found a lucrative part of the market has been cordoned off by a recent CricketAustraliadirective that betting agencies cannot be naming rights sponsors or appear on playing apparel. Casinos are, however, acceptable on the cricketers’ coloured clothing as long as they do not “promote gambling”.

The Big Bash features eight new city-based franchises and all have struggled with the short time frame to market the concept. While they were hoping to sell top-tier sponsorships for about $500,000, it is understood the highest offers have been closer to about $200,000.

The states argued over every detail in the establishment of the league and finally agreed to allow two sides — one of theSydneyteams and one of theMelbourneteams — to sell a minority share to private investment, but that left little time to sell the idea.

Credit Suisse was hired to conduct a roadshow throughIndiato try to attract investors for the two franchises as it was believed that the market there was tuned in to the idea via experiences with the Indian Premier League. The company had an exclusive deal and was trying to sell a 49 per cent share of the teams. There were suggestions they were hoping to realise around $25 million each for the two franchises. The Australian understands that Credit Suisse could not raise any interest inIndiathat came near the asking price, although it did attract some smaller offers.

One state has gone out on its own and is believed to be about to present an offer to the next Cricket Australia board meeting from an investor willing to buy a minority share of the franchise. The states agreed that if any Big Bash side could attract private investment it would be entitled to keep $2m of the sale proceeds, while the balance, after deductions for costs, would be shared between CA and the home state.

Meanwhile, the Big Bash sides, states and national teams have been advised of new regulations with regard to betting sponsors.Cricket Australia directors had a heated debate about the topic at its last meeting and expressed concerns over associations with betting agencies as the game’s image has suffered because of match-fixing controversies such as the one currently being played out in a London court.

Betting agencies are banned from displaying prominent banners. CricketAustraliahas 12 official betting partners. There was even talk at board level that the money gained from these betting shops be quarantined and used for special purposes such as game development.

Under new self-imposed regulations, the board has banned states and Big Bash sides striking relationships with any organisation that does not have an agreement with CricketAustralia.

State sides and Big Bash teams are not allowed to sell naming rights to any gambling agencies.

State sides can have branding on their shirts from betting agencies and casinos, but the Big Bash sides are allowed to have only the latter, although under the condition it did not “promote gambling”.




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