Why the BCCI is Culling the Tour to South Africa: a Hypothesis

by Devanshu Mehta

Somehow, for the season 2013-14, the home series are only 24 days[.]
— Sanjay Patel, BCCI Secretary, 3rd October, 2013

Somehow.

The more I read and think about this, the more I feel that the BCCI is using the CSA spat as an excuse for increasing revenue for 2013. The following is conjecture riddled with facts:

  • BCCI revenues are down year-over-year (year ending March 2013). I read the BCCI’s annual report so you don’t have to. There are other interesting details in there, which I’ll write about soon.
  • On March 31, Bharti Airtel’s contract as title sponsor for the Indian team’s home series expired. Airtel declared that they would not be renewing their contract with the board.
  • BCCI switched treasurers in May (Savant for Shirke) after the spot-fixing scandal.
  • Airtel had a three-month period where they could negotiate an extension. Airtel declined.
  • By July, they started realizing their 2013 International calendar was a piece of crap– revenue-wise– since there were no major home series. They also needed to sweeten the deal for whoever would replace Airtel (or for Airtel, if they chose to extend). So they told Cricket South Africa that they have “concerns” over the schedule. This, in my opinion, is the equivalent of a kid who doesn’t want to go to school tomorrow, so plants the seed in their parent’s mind that they have a tummy-ache, so that the next morning, when they fake a full-blown ‘flu, it doesn’t seem so out of the blue.
  • In the meantime, they got in touch with West Indies and New Zealand about filling the calendar. As soon as West Indies agreed, the BCCI went public with their reservations.
  • It’s a simple play for additional revenue– for themselves and their “stakeholders” (TV broadcasters). The new calendar satisfied Star India– so much so that they bought the Title rights this week for home games as soon as the new calendar came together. Star makes out nicely, since they already own the broadcast rights. Talk about financial eggs in one basket.
  • The five additional West Indies games net the BCCI 10 crore rupees from Star, not to mention higher broadcast revenue. In fact, the whole thing works out as a sweetheart deal for Star, more than anything else.

And so it stands.

Somehow.

I don’t claim this theory is original, but I do believe that the Lorgat story is a convenient red herring not the main show. It allows the BCCI to embarrass Lorgat, make a strong demonstration of the extent of their power and, oh by the way, increase their revenue.

You cannot tell people who are heavily invested that there will be no activity this year.
— Harsha Bhogle, 6th September 2013

(See also: BCCI Income Nosedives)

500 India rupee notesImage by Ravindraboopathi

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