The Indian Premier League ended on October 15 with no apparent major issues caused by coronavirus disease or mental health issues.
The T20 World Cup opened as expected, rather romantically, with Papua New Guinea appearing for the first time only to be beaten by Oman.
England have announced that their team will be touring Australia, only to be condemned by sections of the press as lacking in imagination, not good enough and likely to be beaten, a view shared with glee.
Unimaginative was also the verdict on the decision of the England and Wales Cricket Commission (ECB) to restore its four-day County National Championship to a two-division structure, comprising teams in the positions in which they ended the 2019 season.
Taken together, these results give the impression that normalcy has been restored to the world of cricket. However, dig a little deeper and a few moving patches can be discerned under the landscape. The most obvious is the influence of the T20 format.
While the IPL is the epitome of it, the delayed return of the expected 2020 World Cup, in the wake of the IPL, will extend T20’s exposure longer than normal. He will also provide a benchmark for his progress since the 2016 World Cup in terms of skills and tactics. Before the pandemic, nine countries / regions were hosting T20 competitions recognized by the International Cricket Council, with three more scheduled to start in 2022. Since 2016, the Pakistan Super League and Big Bash in Australia have gained in quality and appeal.
Besides the format, these tournaments share two common characteristics: the ability to attract money and, in part because of this, the ability to attract players from a wide range of countries, based on a system of auction that values ââeach player based on their perceived abilities. The rewards are now staggering.
The total prize pool for the T20 World Cup is $ 5.6 million. There will be $ 1.6 million for the winning team and $ 0.8 million for the finalists. The losing semi-finalists will receive $ 0.4 million each, with the balance of $ 2.4 million shared between group stage winners and those knocked out along the way.
In IPL 2021, the winners received around $ 2.65 million, the runners-up $ 1.69 million, and the third and fourth teams $ 1.16 million. On top of that, players receive salaries, with the top five falling in the $ 2 million to $ 2.4 million range in 2021. The brutal conclusion is that the best players in the IPL earn more than the winning team. World Cup T20, and that the financial reward for winning the IPL is greater than for winning the T20 World Cup. Together, the rewards on offer are a godsend.
Compare these riches, for example, to the financial situation of English cricket. The ECB’s income is generated through broadcasting rights agreements, sponsorship of business partners, ICC distributions, ticket sales and miscellaneous income. In the year ending Jan.31, 2021, it reported income of $ 290 million and pandemic-induced loss of $ 22.6 million, which significantly reversed the previous year’s profit. of $ 9.1 million, causing its cash reserves to drop sharply to $ 3.1 million.
As a non-profit organization, the ECB distributes its income in pursuit of its mission to manage and develop all forms of cricket for men and women, boys and girls, from the playground to the arena of test. Almost 44% of revenue goes directly to cricket organizations, including the 18 first class counties. Fourteen percent is spent to support each of the four areas – running and growing cricket from the ground up; lead England’s men’s, women’s and disabled teams; core activities, like marketing and, in the current cycle, its new competition, The Hundred, which has been explored in the previous columns.
Professional cricket is organized through the county championship structure. The counties have the responsibility of developing talent, ultimately producing cricketers who can perform at the highest level in the various formats.
A review of the finances of the 18 counties would show that, for the most part, there is a heavy reliance on ECB distribution for survival. There is also a clear divergence between the financial health of countries that host international matches and those that do not. The structure of County Cricket and its reliance on central funds to maintain its current state has attracted much criticism, particularly regarding how the counties are using the money to develop both the game and alternative sources of income within their borders.
With what envy must English cricket cast its eyes on the wealthy and independent Cricket Control Board in India. Although she has also suffered a loss of earnings due to the pandemic, the completion of the IPL will ensure a recovery to previous levels and beyond. In 2019-2020, BCCI’s annual income would have been around $ 535 million. Almost two-thirds of this comes from IPL, a quarter from bilateral cricket with other countries and 10% of its annual share of ICC revenue, which comes from its own sources of income from media and sponsors. ICC. In 2022, two more franchises will be added to form a 10-team IPL tournament, creating additional wealth.
The economy of world cricket has become very skewed and looks set to become even more so. This is in large part because of the phenomenal success of the T20 in cricket-mad India which has generated unprecedented revenue. This allowed India’s cricket ambitions to become more expansionary and encouraged the emergence of copycat tournaments.
In turn, the lure of the high rewards and the appeal of the format in emerging countries that lack facilities, resources or time, such as Papua New Guinea, lead T20 to assume a growing position. important in the cricket landscape. This position of strength, coupled with the financial weight of India, can only lead, surely, to further changes in the way the game is structured and financed.