Cricket Australia has announced that despite apparent runaway success for the Big Bash League (BBL), it is actually bleeding money over its first five years at a rate that works out to about $6.6 million per year.
That works out to $33 million, which considering exchange rates, would have been enough to pay LeBron James for the better part of a year.
A new TV deal for the wildly popular Twenty20 tournament, however, could see revenues from that source triple from $20 million to $60 million, which if predictors are to be given credence, would see Cricket Australia taking in as much as $2 billion in the next five years, covering the $33 million loss, making it look paltry and supplying a more than tidy profit in the bargain.
Those sorts of predictions lead to the inevitable consequence of bickering over who will get the Lion’s and who will get the Lamb’s share of the proceeds.
Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers Association are trying to determine how the spoils will be divided and to say there is not much of a consensus would be the understatement of all understatements.
The players want the biggest slice, of course. Cricket Australia wants to have funds for the maintenance and expansion of grassroots level cricket in order to feed players into the top ranks, and they also claim to need more funds for “administrative spend,” code for “They who hold the purse calls the tune.”
Those of a cynical bent might see Cricket Australia’s announcement of the cash hemorrhage might view it as a ploy to discard the revenue share model that has been in place for the past two decades. That tactic was revealed from the mouth-side opposite the one that said it wanted to increase salaries of BBL players by 42 percent.
Cricket Australia also wants to keep a tight hold on funds meant to pay other levels, such as Sheffield Shield and domestic one-day games.