New Zealand news April 21, 2014

NZC contemplates domestic revamp

ESPNcricinfo staff

New Zealand Cricket has put forward a proposal to reinvent its domestic structure and allow up to 49% private investment into the six major associations. The move is aimed at securing financial stability and helping local tournaments garner more interest and become self-sustaining.

A report submitted by David Cooper, NZC general manager of domestic cricket, outlined 18 recommendations that advocated the welcoming of private funding and a transformation of the T20 competition with a mind towards generating greater profit, according to New Zealand Herald. Should these aims be met, the board is hopeful of infusing domestic cricket with the necessary resources that can help bridge the gap in professionalism with the international game and compete with other sports like rugby and netball.

Presently, the Ford Trophy, the HRV Twenty20 and the Plunket Shield are driven by revenue gained from international cricket. Greg Barclay, the chief of NZC, though wishes for a more long-term solution. The increase in private influence, though, might force teams to shift from traditional venues or, alternatively, a few teams may end up sharing a major venue as a home base.

"It's quite conceivable a team could relocate to a bigger commercial centre. And would there be any harm in another sporting organisation like a rugby franchise buying in and sharing facilities?" he told APNZ."Leaving things as they are means results will stay as they are and we'll have a fairly mediocre domestic product getting picked off by other sports through the summer period.

"We want a sustainable future. The rigours an investor would bring must be seen as a positive from a commercial governance point of view. We must generate revenue which we can re-invest. It's also going to cost. We must recognise the commercial properties sitting around domestic cricket, not least of all broadcasting rights to the T20, raise awareness, make it more entertaining and hopefully earn some revenue off it."

While most states require funding assistance, Auckland is contractually assured of a share of the revenue from Eden Park and is, so far, the only major association to oppose the proposed changes. Mark Cameron, their chief, was mindful not to reveal too much though. "All I can say is that we have significant concerns and reservations about the recommendations. Until such time as I discuss it with the board, it's inappropriate to be discussing specifics."