The Indian Premier League (IPL) is such a popular tournament that almost every other cricket-playing nation understands there will be a void in their calendar when the cricket fervor is at its peak during the Indian summer. Australia is well aware of the incredible depths of Indian cricket, and now the Indian investors are keen to buy into Australia’s Big Bash League as a futuristic means to draw interests among Indian cricketers to participate in the BBL tournament.
Private ownership is not currently an option for BBL clubs, but Cricket Australia is being urged to consider allowing private investors from India to invest in Big Bash League teams. It is hoped that if they do so, it would re-energize the competition, open the door for players from that country to play in the league, and attract fans from over countries keen to discover the latest Big Bash League live scores and throw their support behind their favorite teams.
Cricket Australia’s Current Position
Two businessmen (and cricket enthusiasts) with links to prospective investors in India have publicly stated that after ten editions of the Big Bash League, it is now ripe for investment. However, for this investment to take place, Cricket Australia has to opt to privatize the clubs.
The current position? Well right now, it is considered to be very ‘up in the air.’ Cricket Australia has not rejected the proposition, but as they don’t currently have a full-time chief executive, they will not finalize their stance on the issue until one is installed. The pandemic slowed all of this process down, of course, but now that the situation is stabilizing in Australia again, it is time for the Cricket Association to start looking beyond the short-term and think about better preserving the sport for the future.
The Chair of the Australian Cricketers Association, Greg Dyer, is an active and vocal supporter of private ownership within the league. He believes that the injection of capital that this private ownership would bring could help grow the sport, allowing states to spend the funds they currently spend on the BBL on growing the game at a grassroots level, bringing new young talent to the fore.
The Big Bash League is Ripe for Investment
What is certainly clear is that the interest is there. Ravneet Gill, the former head of Deutsche Bank in India who helped raise $200 million in the capital when privatization was first discussed in 2008, believes that investors would rally should a privatization proposition be put on the table by Cricket Australia. He said, “If I do see an opportunity then I know easily who are the two or three investors I’d go to.”
There is clearly a precedent set in how private investment can benefit the financial model within cricket leagues: the financial model has proven effective in the T20 leagues that are hosted in India, the Caribbean, and Pakistan. What will happen is anyone’s guess, but it is certain that an injection of private enterprise would bring dynamism into the league, and enrich the game further.