TELFORD VICE, Cape Town
“I wish one day I could tell Cricket SA (CSA), ‘I don’t need your money’,” Cobras chief executive Nabeal Dien said last week.
Fat chance of that happening anytime soon, especially if the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s working committee did what was widely expected at their meeting on Sunday and disbanded the Champions League T20 (CLT20).
The tournament puts more than R300-million in CSA’s coffers annually. But the broadcasters are losing around US$100-million a year as interest dwindles in what could have been the Indian Premier League’s (IPL) big brother but has instead become its poor cousin.
Each of SA’s six franchises benefit from the CLT20 cash to the tune of R350 000 a year. The franchises that fill the two berths reserved for SA teams at the tournament earn another R2.4-million. Each time an IPL side decide to hang on to a player who would otherwise turn out for his SA outfit the latter bank R1.8-million.
No-one wants to lose a semi-final but CLT20 teams who do will have six million reasons to feel better – that’s how many Rand they will make for reaching the final four.
Losing the final is worth almost R16-million. The Warriors and the Lions both know that feeling having fallen at the last hurdle in 2010 and 2012. Win the thing and you take home R30.45-million.
Any which way you spin it the CLT20 means money to SA’s teams and its loss would be keenly felt, and that’s besides the showcase the event is for SA players hoping to land contracts to play in the IPL.
Dien said the Cobras would be worse off by between R1-million and R1.5-million a year. The Titans would see a negative swing of around R4-million in their budget.
The Warriors did not return calls asking about their financial situation should the tournament be scrapped. But as one of SA’s less affluent franchises they would not be best pleased.
Another franchise chief executive, who declined to be named, painted a bleak picture of the domestic game’s future: “I knock on a lot of doors looking for sponsorship and not a lot of them are answered. I’ve seen sports marketing executives holding their heads in their hands because they don’t know what to do.”
But there could yet be some light at the end of what seems a dark tunnel, courtesy of CSA. What their chief executive, Haroon Lorgat, has termed a “re-engineering” exercise, begun soon after he started his tenure in 2013, is nearing completion.
This has consolidated CSA to the size of an organisation more in touch with its reality as one of the seven test-playing countries who have been frozen out of the big three comprised of India, England and Australia.
“We measure performance much more acutely,” Lorgat said this week. “We’ve got incentives in place and sanctions for those who don’t meet the requirements.”
He said all 12 of CSA’s provincial affiliates had adopted a new funding model geared towards ensuring they break even. So far, so good – for CSA at least.
“We were projecting a loss of R106-million (for this financial year),” Lorgat said. “We’ve managed through commercial programmes, the re-engineering, and fortuitous gains from the exchange rate to have turned a profit in excess of R100-million, and that’s something we can be proud of.”
Dien may yet see his wish come true but for now it’s business as usual in SA cricket.