Australian news

Cricket Australia to consider privately-owned teams

Brydon Coverdale

October 28, 2010

Comments: 27 | Text size: A | A

A victorious Victoria pose with their fourth Twenty20 title, South Australia v Victoria, Twenty20 Big Bash, Final, Adelaide, January 23, 2010
The Big Bash is set to expand, but whether that involves privately-owned teams is yet to be decided © Getty Images

Cricket Australia will decide on Friday whether to allow private ownership of domestic Twenty20 teams in a shake-up it thinks could be as big as the World Series Cricket breakaway. Investors from India are believed to have shown significant interest in buying a stake in Australian sides for the revamped T20 league, which will start in 2011-12.

The new tournament is expected to feature eight city-based teams instead of the existing six state sides and how the ownership structure for those new teams is up for discussion. A four-hour presentation at Cricket Australia's annual general meeting on Thursday will be followed on Friday by a board meeting, at which a decision on private ownership will be made.

"There has been interest from private investors in being involved," a Cricket Australia spokesman told ESPNcricinfo. "All of that is a matter for board determination, but it will be a big discussion."

The Australian has reported that Victoria and New South Wales have both been approached by Indian investors offering multi-million dollar deals to take minority holdings in the new Melbourne and Sydney teams. All six state capitals are expected to field a side, with two new teams to be based in growth areas.

Cricket Australia has been keen to significantly expand the Big Bash after seeing the success of the Indian Premier League, although IPL-style franchising of sides was not a priority in the initial stages. Cricket Australia's general manager of marketing, Mike McKenna, said earlier this year "sport in Australia is not full of great successes in private investment".

But the early interest from investors has given the board plenty to think about, barely a year from the expected start of the competition. The locations for the two new sides are likely to be decided early next year.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

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Posted by PeteB on (October 29, 2010, 7:59 GMT)

I don't really care what happens with ODI and T20. If test cricket dies so be it. I'll follow my other interests with more passion and read cricket history books for memories. But let's remember, cricket has survived two world wars. Will it survive corporate greed? That's another test.

Posted by KC1977 on (October 29, 2010, 5:53 GMT)

Guys, dont kill Cricket. Its already on death bed now. Being an Indian and true test lover, I feel its time now to think more about test cricket, not the rubbish T20. T20 is fun, but there should be a limit to it. May be about a month in a year for T20 and rest to test cricket. I follow Aussie cricket with great interest and a big supporter of Bushrangers, having stayed in Melbourne for close to 4 years. I dont want any other guys than Victorians representing Bushrangers team and am sure same is the case with other states. As rightly said by D-Train, I would not like any Victorian to represent any other Australian State side for sure. Guys, stop this non sense and focus more on playing quality cricket.

Posted by Hoggy_1989 on (October 29, 2010, 4:10 GMT)

Everyone here is dead right, this is bad idea. I don't care for the IPL one little bit, and I won't care at all for an APL or similar. And what if one of the companies decides they don't have the money mid-season anymore, they just pack up and leave? Or if we have an Allan Stanford-type investor. The game of cricket should be infinitely more important than bucketloads of investors money CA don't need. We didn't get to be No. 1 in cricket for so long selling out like this. Our state structure is the best in the money so important that we're going to throw it down the toilet in exchange for money? If this goes ahead, RIP Australian cricket...may we see you again when CA grows a brain and sees that they are killing the Australian game of cricket.

Posted by Hoggy_1989 on (October 29, 2010, 3:34 GMT)

Putting aside the meaningless of T20 matches to start with, this is a very bad idea...look what's happening in the IPL now. Teams being cut and all hell is breaking loose. Players could end up being out of a job very very quickly...not so bad for international stars, but what about regular state players who don't earn the mega bucks? Keep the teams under the control of the state organizations, and out of the hands of private investors, be they Australian, Indian or whoever. Also, the Allan Stanford fiasco with the ECB and his Stanford T20 competition should give enough clues how big things could be in this country. For the love of God...DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN!

Posted by D.V.C. on (October 29, 2010, 0:54 GMT)

And another thing: If they really want to add 2 more teams, what is wrong with keeping the current 6 state teams as they are and adding the ACT and NT? There would be a precedent for that, and it would be sensible (especially seeing as how NT is currently trying to become a state). The structure of teams in domestic cricket in Australia is older than the country! Does CA think it has no longevity!? What is with this city model? First Class crowds could be increased by a factor of 10 to 20 if they just played the first class games outside the capital cities (7319 last time a NSW game was played in Newcastle, 16,000 and 17,000 the two times before that. When NSW play in Sydney they get about 1,000 to 2,000 at most). Why not play all first class games in regional centres?

Posted by Something_Witty on (October 29, 2010, 0:39 GMT)

Please don't ruin what is a great competition already...

Posted by redneck on (October 29, 2010, 0:08 GMT)

yeah a forign owned franchise that could potentially up and leave your city just like US sports! i doubt this ideas really going to bring in interest locally. i cant see why indian investors are so keen? they must have more dollars than sense! leave domestic cricket in the hands of the state boards! i dont see why moneys the be all and end all for cricket australia at the momment, its not like they struggle to pay the bills or anything. so why uproot and change such a successful system that produces probably more international tallent than any other country just for a quick buck!? franchise sporting teams dont work well in australia, any sports thats tried has failed misserably and i dont see how or why cricket would be the exception! people in australia follow cricket as a matter of national or international pride ie to stick one up the mother country or just to kick them vics! i dont see how a franchise could capture that type of supporter

Posted by Bytheway on (October 28, 2010, 23:28 GMT)

Bring it on, I say. T20 isn't cricket, it's E N T E R T A I N M E N T.

Posted by D.V.C. on (October 28, 2010, 21:26 GMT)

Can't wait to go and watch the Newcastle Super Royal Challenger Kings. Ahem. We have the best domestic structure in the world. I don't understand why they want to screw with it. Well ok, I do - money. But there are more important things than money.

Posted by rafe01 on (October 28, 2010, 21:07 GMT)

I agree with matthew thorpe - "big bash" is embarrasing. Who are these guys?

Posted by rafe01 on (October 28, 2010, 21:06 GMT)

This is awful. I am a fan of T20, but a bigger fan of test cricket. The IPL was fun to watch, but when you think about what happened to people like Shane Bond because of the predatory way it is run, then any joy in it sours. So hearing the same people with the same dirty money are being invited to but our teams in Autralia is disenchanting to say the least. Shame on CA if they allow foreign owned interests to take over our game.

Posted by   on (October 28, 2010, 13:53 GMT)

As it stands I have very little interest in 20 over games, and despite the money that it may generate it will kill off any interest I had. But a question.....When the money runs dry (and it will be When, not If), then what?

Posted by bumbagpoida on (October 28, 2010, 13:04 GMT)

In the T20 comp I currently follow Western Australia (where I live) and Victoria (where I was born) with a passion. I would never have any emotional connection to a Melbourne franchise and would struggle to support a foreign owned Perth team. Just when T20 cricket in this country starts to gain some credibility, CA seem to want to stuff it up in the pursuit of material gain. Deplorable.

Posted by Retire on (October 28, 2010, 11:59 GMT)

As a fan, we need just entertainment and T20 can provide you joy more than other formats. So it is good for cricket fans.

Posted by Zat. on (October 28, 2010, 8:11 GMT)

Enjoy the Ashes this summer, because by 2014-15, we'll be lucky if there's any Test cricket being played, as Indian-funded t20 circuses move from country to country like locusts, wiping out every other form of the game.

And when people grow tired of matches that are more determined by luck and the toss, rather than skill, and games that are much more easily corruptible by bookmakers, and we have a generation of players completely unsuited to Test cricket, what happens then? The game dies.

Posted by KingofRedLions on (October 28, 2010, 7:48 GMT)

No, no, no, no, no, no, no.

Posted by   on (October 28, 2010, 7:04 GMT)

How about you just add PNG and Fiji like england have Scotland and the netherlands (and formerly Ireland)

Posted by   on (October 28, 2010, 5:40 GMT)

The death bells are sounding for Australian cricket

Posted by loggerfloodles on (October 28, 2010, 4:47 GMT)

What is wrong with CA? When will they realise that their main priority is to further the goals of cricket in Australia, and to a lesser extent, the world? Why change the ODI format just before a world cup? Why start privately owned clubs the very same year that the model has fallen to pieces in the A-League and the NRL and the IPL? Why stick with North? WHATS WITH YOU?!?!

Posted by D-Train on (October 28, 2010, 3:24 GMT)

I hate this idea. I am a Victorian and support the Victorian Bushrangers. I would not care and would not attend matches between Melbourne and Sydney which would have Mark Cosgrove playing for Melbourne and Brad Hodge playing for Sydney.

The success of 20/20 has given the administrators green eyes. They no longer truly care about the cricket and the supporters.

Posted by Runster1 on (October 28, 2010, 3:09 GMT)

LOL. They are trying to copy the IPL . Y are indians bothered to buy such a boring T20 league? Cos they are no teams left to buy in the IPL.... I dont knw y nybody wud bother investing in BB teams? Wat profit is big are the fan bases??????

Posted by Fireballz on (October 28, 2010, 2:41 GMT)

Interest from investors does not equate to interest from spectators. Stop chasing the $$$ Cricket Australia...

Posted by fairdinkum on (October 28, 2010, 1:34 GMT)

The great risk is that by allowing private ownership, especially foreign ownership, it will alienate grassroots support. What would they bring to the game in this country?

Posted by andrew.henshaw on (October 28, 2010, 0:57 GMT)

i can see test cricket becoming more and more marginalised and it seems inevitable..

Posted by matthewthorpe on (October 28, 2010, 0:02 GMT)

Can CA please change the name of this tournament. Big Bash is a terrible, amateur sounding competition

Posted by threeheadedmonkey on (October 27, 2010, 23:50 GMT)

R.I.P Australian domestic cricket

Posted by   on (October 27, 2010, 23:48 GMT)

They screwed up the ODD competition in Australia, please dont do their own version of the IPL and screw that up too?

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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