Players’ decision to turn backs on Indian tour may cost WICB $65 million

Some are supportive of the players while others are condemning the players, accusing them of greed and disloyalty to the region. Again the center of the problem is money, but this time it is not a clear disagreement between the West Indies Cricket Board and the Players union.

Instead, the players are upset over an agreement that was signed with their own union, the West Indies Players Association, WIFA, and the West Indies Board. The players have said they are not happy with their union agreeing to the terms of a new contract with the governing Board. The dispute arose after the new agreement required a restructure of the payment plan for the players.

However, now that the players shave decided to withdraw their participation and return home, the Indian cricket authorities have threatened to sue the West Indies Cricket Board for approximately US$65 million for damages suffered because of the premature ending of the series.

A final decision on the way forward with the law suit will be determined on 21st October, during a committee meeting of the BCCI.

The West Indian players pulled out of the tour after playing only four of five ODIs. The tour was to include five ODIs, one T20, and three Test matches.

The BCCI says it has lost out on revenue for some 17 match days

Other media sources have said that “Though Sri Lanka agreed to fill in for West Indies and play five ODIs in India in November, the BCCI will still lose income for 12 match-days for the 2014-15 season. The BCCI is likely to claim those damages from the WICB.”

BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel told ESPNcricinfo, “We have referred the matter to our legal cell and asked them to let us know by 21st (October) about how we can pursue the issue legally.”

He said that they were still working out the actual cost or loss in revenue.

“They [WICB] entered into a bilateral agreement with us, and they abandoned the tour due to their internal issues, so we will have to seek compensation. But, depending on the legal advice, the working committee will decide the future course of action.”

For the 2013-14 season revenue for each match-day of India’s home series against West Indies was believed to be approximately Rs 33 crore. BCCI insiders revealed that the 2014-15 season’s estimation was “around the same as last year”. This would mean that the West Indies’ pullout will result in BCCI losing at least Rs 396 crore.

According the agreements signed between Full Members for bilateral series, each board keeps the revenue generated for their home series and incurs logistics costs from the time the visiting team arrives in the country till they board a return flight.

The BCCI’s revenue is primarily generated through broadcast sponsorship, series-title sponsorship, team-title sponsorship, apparel sponsorship, minor share of advertising from host broadcaster, gate receipts and in-stadia advertising. Since the broadcast and series-title sponsorships deals are on a per match basis, irrespective of whether it’s a T20, Test or ODI, that income is unlikely to be affected since the five cancelled matches against West Indies (three Tests, an ODI and a Twenty20) will be replaced by five ODIs against Sri Lanka. The apparel sponsorship deal is for a fixed amount, irrespective on the number of matches at home.

However, since the broadcaster’s revenue through advertising is going to be affected with the loss of 12 match-days, including a full Test series that will have an impact on the BCCI’s coffers as the board gets a minor share of advertising revenue from the host broadcaster. Also, it is likely that Star India, the host broadcaster, may ask for a reduction in broadcast fees which they have been paying to the board. At the moment, Star India pays the BCCI Rs 43.20 crore per match.

The decrease in broadcast revenues will also impact the state associations since the BCCI distributes 70% of it equally amongst the 27 members who participate in the Ranji Trophy. Besides, if any of the five state associations that were allotted one of the cancelled games against West Indies don’t get a game against Sri Lanka, they will also lose out on substantial income. The host associations get to keep income generated through ticket sales and in-stadia advertising.

 

(Parts of this article were facilitated by excerpts from Amol Karhadkar of ESPNcricinfo)

 

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