Cricket's "Big 3" Power Grab Defies Established Sports Economics

Australia, England and India, the three biggest revenue producing nations in the world of cricket, are seeking to remodel International Cricket Council (ICC) along the lines of the UN Security Council. They are making a naked bid to get more money and power for themselves at the expense of the cricket boards of the rest of the ICC member nations including Bangladesh, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Zimbabwe.

The "Big 3" Proposal:

The proposals, written by the ICC's Finance, Commercial Affairs (FCA) committee and leaked to the media last week, calls for the formation of a four-person executive committee, on which the representative of boards of Australia, England and India would be guaranteed a seat. Only one representative from the rest of the cricketing nations combined would be selected by the three boards annually.

Would this proposal, if adopted as is, strengthen the sport of cricket? Or would it spell doom for it? Its proponents argue that the new structure would improve governance of world cricket. Cricket Australia Chairman Wally Edwards said " its approach internationally is consistent with its approach at home where we have made significant strides improving the governance of Australian cricket".

The Debate on "Big 3":

Opponents such as former Indian Premier League boss Lali Modi call it "a nail in the coffin for world game". Here are some excepts of what Modi told Hindustan Times:

“It’s a cartel, an unholy trinity and it threatens the future of the game. I’m serious. How can it possibly be good for the other Test playing nations and the associate members that these three line their own pockets. It is a scandal and it must be stopped. “They are going to kill cricket with these proposals. Great, India and England and Australia can play themselves to their heart’s content but they have put every other nation on the bread line.”

“They are saying they should have the power because they can bring greater stability but they don’t explain how they are going to do it. This is cloak and dagger stuff. Where’s the transparency? And then they say that each member will be given revenue share in line with the growth of the ICC. They are just lining their pockets".

 “You can read it yourself. It is clear in black and white. Section one, page three, point E and I’ll quote it ‘Ensuring a fair distribution of revenues, recognizing the contribution of each member to the ICC both on and off the field’. The key word there is ‘contribution’. Well, of course Indian ‘contribute’ more in terms of money than Zimbabwe. But this is totalitarian. This is about the rich getting richer and screw the rest".

“Again, a little further down. Same section, same page but point f. ‘The need to streamline bilateral cricket arrangements and ensure the on-going relevance of all these matches to ICC events and the viability of cricket in all relevant markets’. Look, we all know what streamline means in this context. It’s reducing or getting rid all together.”

Successful NFL Model:

The world's most successful sports franchise today is the National Football League (NFL) in the United States. It treats all of its 32 member teams equally with equal vote in decision making. Over 70% of its revenue is shared equally among its member teams.

NFL has a highly lucrative business because of the extraordinary popularity of football in the United States. Over nine years, starting in 2014, CBS, Fox and NBC will together will pay an average of about $3 billion a year, more than 50 percent higher than their prior deals, according to a report in New York Times. Altogether, the four networks, in addition to DirecTV, which pays $1 billion a year for its Sunday Ticket satellite package, will pay the N.F.L. more annually in TV rights than any sports league has ever been paid.

Economics of Sports:

Simon Rottenberg, an economist at University of Chicago, published what is considered as the first significant paper on the subject of the economics of sport, "The Baseball Players' Labor Market" in 1956. He stressed the importance to sporting competition of uncertainty of outcome and distribution of talent: "The nature of the industry is such that competitors must be of approximately equal ‘size’ if any are to be successful; this seems to be a unique attribute of professional competitive sports." This ‘invariance principle’ was because a league in which the strong simply soaked up all the talent would defeat itself.


The naked power grab by cricket boards of Australia, England and India is indeed an "Unholy Trinity". It defies the basic economics of sports as described by University of Chicago economist Simon Rottenberg. It results in unequal competition by weakening the majority of the national cricket teams by starving them of needed revenues to train, promote and reward the best and the brightest players.  It will badly hurt international cricket. PCB and other cricket boards should strongly oppose it.

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Riaz Haq said…
#ICC votes 13-1 to end dominance of world #cricket's "Big 3": #Australia, #England #India. … via @newscomauHQ

CRICKET’S global governing body has received a thumping mandate from its members to proceed with a broad restructure aimed at curbing the dominance of the “Big Three” — Australia, India and England.
The sweeping changes were passed in a unanimous vote during a meeting at the International Cricket Council (ICC) headquarters in Dubai, the governing body said in a statement Thursday.
The shake-up amends the ICC’s constitution and financial structure so that revenue is more equitably distributed among members and less power is concentrated in the hands of the “Big Three”.
It reverses a much-criticised ICC decision in 2014 to relinquish more control to Australia, England and India, the world’s most powerful cricketing boards.
The restructure was agreed to in principle in February by the majority of Test playing nations — including England and Australia — but India opposed the proposal.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India stands to lose $277 million revenue over the next eight years under the changes, with more flowing to minor Test nations and associate members like Ireland and Afghanistan.
Riaz Haq said…
New ICC finance model breaks up Big Three

BCCI's revenue share for 2015-23 stands at US$ 293 milion, against its demand of US$ 570 million © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

Pakistan's PCB to get $132 million

t started with money, and it has ended with money. The "Big Three" financial model drawn up by the boards of India, England and Australia unveiled amid much consternation three years ago is no more, replaced by a plan to vastly reduce the BCCI's share of ICC revenue and offer identical amounts to seven of the game's Full Member nations.

After a week of intense negotiations that saw the BCCI's opposition to change outmaneuvered by the collective will of the rest, the amount of ICC revenue to be handed out to each nation is now as follows. The BCCI will receive US$293m across the eight-year cycle, the ECB US$143m, Zimbabwe Cricket US$94m and the remaining seven Full Members US$132m each. Associate Members will receive total funding of US$280m.

While this distribution is not a complete rollback to the equal funding from ICC events that Full Members used to receive, it is a considerable distance from the US$440 million the BCCI stood to earn under the Big Three model. The distribution to the ECB has reduced marginally from around $US150 million, while Cricket Australia's share is similar to what it previously received, albeit now in line with those afforded to South Africa, Pakistan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and West Indies. These changes were passed by 14 votes to one, with the BCCI the sole dissenter.

Battles over the ICC events financial model have been drawn out over a period of years, starting with the ascension of Shashank Manohar as the governing body's chairman following the exit of his predecessor and rival N Srinivasan, widely considered the Big Three's chief architect. Manohar stunned the cricket world by stating his intent to resign earlier this year, but was cajoled into staying on until the ICC annual conference in June, where the above changes are set to be ratified.

"This is another step forward for world cricket and I look forward to concluding the work at the Annual Conference," Manohar stated in an ICC release. "I am confident we can provide a strong foundation for the sport to grow and improve globally in the future through the adoption of the revised financial model and governance structure."

The governance structure of which Manohar spoke was the other major outcome from this week's round of meetings in Dubai. The ICC's constitution is to be extensively redrawn, with numerous changes to the way the global game is run and the way that the performance and eligibility of member nations are assessed. These constitutional changes, which were passed by 12 votes to two, include:
Riaz Haq said…
PCB’s Rs 4.5bn ( $43 million) annual budget approved by Board of Governors

LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) annual budget to the tune of Rs 4.5 billion (US$ 43 million) has been approved by its Board of Governors (BoG). Talking to reporters after the BoG meeting, PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan claimed that almost all short-term and long-term plans envisaged by the PCB in the wake of poor performance of the Pakistan team during the last World T20 and Asia Cup T20 had been implemented in order to resurrect the game of cricket in the country. Shaharyar said though the budget amounting to Rs 4.5 billion was approved, the PCB would try its level best to reduce its expenditure. “There was extensive debate on the budget but finally it was approved,” he said. Shaharyar said that after the disappointing performances in the last Asia Cup T20 and World T20, the PCB had taken several decisions to bring back Pakistan cricket on the right track. “We informed the BoG that short-term plans have fully been implemented, since a new selection committee has been formed by appointing Inzamamul Haq as the new chief selector, apart from replacing Shahid Afridi with Sarfraz Ahmad as T20 captain and relieving Waqar Younis to hire Mickey Arthur as head coach,” added the PCB chief. “And to bring improvement in fitness, a boot camp was held successfully in Kakul recently. Also, we have received reports that the camp in Abbottabad was very successful due to which it has now been decided that such camps will be held every year to promote fitness culture,” Shaharyar further said.

Talking about the PCB long-term plans, the chairman said: “Under the long-term plans 95 percent work has been completed with Mudassar Nazar being appointed as director academies. He will join the academy from Tuesday (tomorrow). Mudassar, the chairman said, was a very experienced and suitable person to run the academies, adding that the director academies would also set up new academies across the country. He said that separate school, club and university cricket programmes had almost been finalized, adding that around 1,000 schools both from private and government sectors would be competing which would help enhance the base of players to 10,000. “The PCB is trying to get sponsors for the regional bodies too.” The BoG also welcomed newly appointed head coach Mickey Arthur and had asked the PCB to fully support him.

Shaharyar also said the BoG decided that coaches, trainers, players and other support staff of the national team would be given reasonable targets to achieve in the six-month time period. “After every six months, the target will be reviewed in order to analyze the performances. However, there will be no action against anyone if the targets are not achieved,” he pointed out. Nonetheless, fresh targets will be given as part of a review course. Similarly, head coach Arthur will also be given targets.

He said the BoG admitted that the standard of pitches and grounds in Pakistan was not matching up to the international standard. “The BoG has vowed to give special attention to bringing improvements in pitches and grounds. Our pitches are dull and not up to the mark. All over the world the ball carries to the chest level of the wicketkeeper at fast tracks but we hardly observe such things in Pakistan,” he lamented.

Talking about changes in the domestic structure which could not be put on the right track even after many decades, the chairman said that now it was decided that eight teams each of regions and departments would play separately in the National One-day Championship. “In the four-day format, there won’t be any change. T20 tournaments will only be held on regional level.” The decisions, said the chairman, aimed at improving the quality of the domestic cricket.

Riaz Haq said…
PSL profit of $2.6 million ‘beyond expectations’: Sethi

Pakistan Super league (PSL) chairman Najam Sethi on Tuesday disclosed that a profit of US$2.6 million was made on the first edition of the league and termed it as “a great achievement for the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB)”.
While the PCB BoG was reluctant to give Sethi the green light as they feared huge losses on a heavy investment, the profit earned now means Sethi has cemented his place as PSL chairman.

“I promised I will disclose details of the PSL funds,” he said. “We were successful in every aspect — the ratings were high, thanks to our state-of-the-art production, while our upcoming players got an opportunity to rub shoulders with the top players in the world.

“Furthermore, we sold our franchises for US$9.3 million, US$3 million more than we’d earlier predicted.”

He said while the league wasn’t able to meet the targets of gate money (US$6 million to US$7.5 million), they made good money through the broadcast of the event after buying the airtime of three television channels. “We expected broadcasting rights to sell to the tune of US$15 million but it all went wrong after Ten Sports offered just US$2 million, which persuaded the PSL to make their own production arrangements.

“We earned US$9 million from the broadcast of the league,” he said.


Sethi added that the PCB BoG had allowed the PSL to include a sixth franchise from the next edition even through there were “objections from the other five franchises” but “they could be convinced”.

“Although we had decided to include a sixth team from 2018, looking at the success of the inaugural edition, the BoG members have allowed us to induct a sixth team from 2017,” he said.
Riaz Haq said…

Pakistan was the among the last Test playing nations to host a T20 league, but still attracted some big name including Shane Watson, Dwayne Smith and Chris Gayle in the first season, and a whole lot of viewership from the nation’s cricket fans.
In the IPL, a team can acquire players through five ways: annual auction, signing domestic players, signing uncapped players, trading players, and signing replacements. PSL, on the other hand, holds a draft where players are categorized in five groups – Diamond, Silver, Platinum, Gold and Emerging.

Since its inception in 2008, the Indian Premier League has had at least eight teams in every season. The PSL on other hand, has just five teams - Peshawar Zalmi, Islamabad United, Lahore Qalandars, Quetta Gladiators and Karachi Kings.
The IPL has always boasted of encouraging young cricketing talent from around the nation, and allows no more than ten overseas players out of the maximum of 27. The Pakistani league on the other hand, has a restriction of only four foreign players and a minimum of 12 local ones.
Duration of Tournaments
The Pakistan Super League comprises just 24 matches, with each team playing the other twice. Therefore, the event ends in less than a month. The IPL on the other hand goes on for over a month, keeping the audiences engaged for a longer period. This year the IPL season will start on 5 April and end on 21 May while PSL will go on from 9 February to 7 March.
Monetary Comparison
The winners of the 2016 IPL got a staggering Rs 20 crore ($ 3 million), an amount that was the total prize money in its first edition. The PSL on the other hand, offered a million dollars in total as the prize money in its first edition.
Even during their respective first teams auctions, the total money generated in the IPL was $723.5 million as opposed to PSL’s $18.6 million.
Riaz Haq said…
Former #NFL QB Gibran Hamdan commits to Team #Pakistan to play #baseball qualifier in #Panama. Gibran Hamdan is the first player of Pakistani descent in NFL history after he was drafted by Washington in 2003. via @mlb

When Team Pakistan takes the field at the Pool B qualifiers in Panama next month, there may be a familiar face stepping to the plate -- only this time, his helmet will be a little different than the one he's best known for.

On Thursday, Gibran Hamdan -- the first player of Pakistani descent in NFL history after he was drafted by Washington in 2003 -- announced on Twitter that he had accepted an invitation from Pakistan's baseball federation for the upcoming tournament.

Though he may have professional experience in the NFL with five different organizations and was named the 2006 NFL Europe MVP while playing for the Amsterdam Admirals, Hamdan made it clear that baseball was his first love.

"I was also a two-sport athlete at Indiana. I played first base for four years. Baseball was my first love -- way before football," Hamdan said on Twitter. "I'm letting you know that I accepted an invitation from the Pakistan National Baseball Team to play for them in the World Baseball [Classic] qualifiers coming up Sept. 30 in Panama City, Panama. Super excited to be playing ball again."

Though there's surely some rust to knock off, Hamdan's numbers at Indiana University speak for themselves. In his junior season, Hamdan posted an impressive .335/.389/.509 batting line with 6 home runs. This wouldn't be his first international baseball tournament, either: Hamdan played for Team USA's 15-and-unders in China and Japan in his youth.

"There are many American and Canadian Pakistanis who are good players and are playing baseball or American football in high school, colleges and universities, but few will reach [the highest level]. Having him [on] our team, he would be a role model for [players of] Pakistani heritage to play baseball," Syed Fakhar Ali Shah, the head of Pakistan's baseball federation, said in an email. "Also, parents with Pakistani heritage would [then] support their children in learning baseball and other games professionally."

It's an intriguing roster move for Team Pakistan. After reaching their first ever WBC qualifier in 2017, the No. 31 ranked team by the WBSC will be looking to cause some upsets when the Pool B qualifiers begin next month
Riaz Haq said…
#India’s #Cricket Bat Business in Danger Due to Shortage of Willow Trees. #Indian bats are made from willow trees grown in #Indian Occupied Kashmir. They are much cheaper than the #English bats. 70% of bats sold in the world are made in #Kashmir

The best cricket bats in the world are made in England and India from willow trees. A bat is the long stick cricket players use to hit the ball.

The bats from India are in especially high demand. That is because they are much less costly than the English bats.

Bats from India cost between $50 and $500, while the ones made in England cost three to four times more.

The bat factories are in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir and they employ about 100,000 people.

The area makes about 3 million bats each year. The factories have customers in 125 countries. The cricket bat business brings in about $12 million to the Indian economy. The Kashmir bats make up about 70 percent of the world market because of their lower cost.

Many of the area’s factories, however, have closed because of a serious lack of willow trees.

As Indian-made bats became more popular around the world, more and more willow trees were cut down. New willow trees were not planted to replace them. Wood farmers chose to grow different kinds of wood that grow more quickly than willow trees.

Mohammad Shafi Dar is 55 years old. He is one of the skilled workers involved in making cricket bats. He takes a piece of willow and cuts it with a motorized saw. He then passes it on to another worker for the next part of the bat-making process.

Dar followed his father into the business when he was a young man. He told VOA that, for the first time, he is worried about losing his job.

“In the last couple of years,” he said, “bat production has decreased.” He said about six workers recently lost their jobs at his factory.

On the main highway that connects Kashmir with the main part of India, there are 400 cricket bat factories. Drivers see the pieces of willow trees gathered along the road. Fifty of the factories have closed because they do not have the wood they need.

The workers who lose their jobs do not have many other choices for work. Dar said they can become day laborers, work in agriculture or become sand diggers.

Fayaz Ahmad Dar is president of the Kashmir Cricket Bat Manufacturers Union. He said the willow tree shortage started about five years ago. He said the business is almost “extinct due to complete negligence.” Area factories, he said, receive just half the supply they used to.

Ahmad Dar said the tree-growers in the area are planting cottonwood and poplar. Wood from those trees can be used in making plywood, which is used in the building industry. Those trees grow faster and their wood can be sold sooner. The willow trees grow more slowly.

Ahmad Dar said he has talked with the director of commerce and industries for the Kashmir area. He told her about cricket’s growth around the world and how important the area’s factories are for the sport.

Ahmad Dar said he asked that the government set aside land that could only be used for planting willow trees so that Kashmir’s cricket bat business can survive.

After the meeting, the Sher-e-Kashmir University’s department of agriculture sent the bat manufacturers 1,500 small willow trees to plant.

Ahmad Dar, however, said that was not nearly enough. The bat-makers need many more trees than that. He said just one bat company needs the wood from 10,000 to 15,000 trees each year in order to meet demand.
Riaz Haq said…
6 Most Expensive Cricket Bats 2022 by Popular Brands | DESIblitz

This is one of most supreme expensive cricket bats handcraft made in Pakistan from super English willow, with more 10 + straight 9+ grains. It is a world-class professional player bat, with excellent craftsmanship.

Special attention is noticeable in the sculpt of every corner and edge. The bat does not have a sticker, but instead has CA laser carving.

The CA Sports emblem is sealed on grip. A unique number is visible on the face of each bat. The toe guard part of the bat uses nothing less than Glass Protek Technology, which is good for all weather conditions.

The stylistic and innovative bat with exemplary weight balance is a creation for power hitters. Reviewing the bat through a YouTube video, Wasiq from Wasiq Sports says:

“This willow is outstanding. The pick up up is really good.”

This long lasting bat costs close to the £700 price point. Many international cricketers play the sport with a CA bat.
Riaz Haq said…
India And Pakistan Renew Cricket’s Biggest Rivalry In Financial Windfall For Asia Cup
Tristan Lavalette

You don't even have to look at the fixtures to know that bitter rivals India and Pakistan will play each other at the upcoming Asia Cup, which starts on Wednesday in Multan, Pakistan.

"The entire monetization of the (Asia Cup) broadcast is based on this one match between India and Pakistan,” Asian cricket Council head of commercial and events Prabhakaran Thanraj told me last year.

“The men's Asia Cup is where almost all the funds come from for the ACC. Monetization will help put funds back into cricket.”

With so much at stake, it's understandable that Pakistan and India have been scheduled to meet on September 2 in Kandy. Given the intense political differences between the nuclear-armed countries, which has stalled cricket's most passionate rivalry, the blockbuster contest could not be played in host nation Pakistan.

According to sources, security concerns in Pakistan were too great as India refused to tour ensuring another round of warring between the foes.

There had been talk of Pakistan losing its hosting rights - and they fired back by threatening to boycott the upcoming World Cup in India - with ever reliable neutral terrain of UAE considered as an alternative.

Eventually, common sense prevailed as a compromise was struck with Pakistan to retain hosting duties but nine of the 13 matches will be played in Sri Lanka, including all of India's games and the final on September 17.

The six-team Asia Cup will be divided into two groups with the top two teams in each go to a Super Four before the final in Colombo. There is a chance India and Pakistan will meet three times in the tournament in what will be an obvious money-spinner every time they meet.

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Their games conjure record broadcast ratings and surreal scenes such as when they last played during the unforgettable contest at last year's T20 World Cup in front of 90,000 fans in Melbourne.

There is such an appetite - not just from Indian and Pakistani fans - but the entire cricket world when these rare matches take place.

Due to the heated political situation, India and Pakistan have not played a bilateral series in a decade. A generation of their players have missed out on playing Test cricket against each other and a resumption is unlikely any time soon.

The scarcity, while such a travesty, does mean the anticipation is magnified every time these cricket-mad countries meet on the field. You can't blame the ACC for milking it and the benefits are enormous for the Asian region.

Established in 1983, the ACC’s goal is to develop and promote cricket in Asia while fostering better relations with its 25 member nations. A key role is to organize the Asia Cup - its marquee event - which was generally played biennially until 2018.

Under a rebrand, with all-powerful India cricket boss Jay Shah taking charge, the Asia Cup will be held annually interchanging between T20 and ODI formats. This year's event will be the 50-over format in what is seen as a perfect tune-up ahead of the ODI World Cup.

Next year's event will revert back to the T20 format in the aftermath of the T20 World Cup in the U.S. and Caribbean.

According to sources, India and Bangladesh are favorites to host the event which would again be played in August/September - as the Asia Cup has carved out precious real estate in cricket's increasingly congested calendar.

With a financial windfall guaranteed, as all eyes focus on India and Pakistan, the Asia Cup has become a major annual event while strengthening the region as the game's dominant force.

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