Sundar Raman has stake in CSA T20 league

The first edition of the as-yet-unnamed six-team competition is scheduled for January 2023

Former IPL king Sundar Raman has a stake in a company that will try to catapult South Africa into the traveling circus T20. This should convince potential investors that the CSA is serious in their third attempt to secure a share of the global tournament pie. Others will see the irony in Raman as part of a solution to a problem that could be considered to have helped him.

The document, titled “MSL: Re-imagined,” seen by Cricbuzz, was presented at a special CSA council meeting on April 25th. In it, Raman is listed as the owner of a 12.5% ​​stake in the company, which was presented on Friday as a vehicle to encourage the establishment of the tournament. CSA owns 57.5% and SuperSport broadcasters the remaining 30%. The first edition of the as-yet-unnamed six-team competition is scheduled for January 2023.

If successful, the tournament will do what the stillborn T20 Global League and short-lived Mzansi Super League are not: make money. The document states that the CSA spent close to $ 32 million on two ventures. The most significant return was the $ 1.6 million CSA paid by the South African Broadcasting Corporation for rights to MSL 2019, the last time the tournament was played.

The league’s central costs, which exclude team-specific costs, are estimated at $ 56 million over 10 years. SuperSport has invested $ 89 million in the project, with a minimum of $ 30 million in core revenue over 10 years. The latter will be divided evenly between the league and the teams, who will keep the funds raised through T-shirt sponsorships, ticket sales, hospitality and food and beverage sales. From the 11th year of the competition, teams will pay 20% of their income to the league as a franchise fee.

The cash prize is estimated at $ 2 million, and teams will have $ 1.5 million to sign players.

The document says “letters / expressions of interest” were received from potential investors by Delhi Capitals, Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians, Rajasthan Royals and a “consortium led by Kevin Pietersen”.

The CSA is understandably in fear of the popular IPL, which has drafted T20 tournaments everywhere. The document confirms that “the success of the IPL has changed the face and economy of the BCCI; and the CSA also has the opportunity to launch a project that could redefine the landscape and cricket economy in South Africa in a decade.” The other side of the equation is that “apart from the IPL … success from cricket and economic perspective was different”. Indeed, “Outside of the IPL, no other premier domestic T20 league has achieved hopeless success.” What to do? “The CSA should therefore focus on the opportunity to create the second best T20 league in the world.”

That’s easier said than done, as cricket-minded South Africans discovered in September 2017 – when then-CSA CEO Haroon Lorgat was ousted on the verge of, according to some sources, securing a contract to broadcast what was supposed to be GLT20. MSL, less ambitious in that the franchises were owned by the CSA, was a vanity project that would never be profitable.

The CSA’s toxic culture of stabbing and dishonesty fueled by palace politics and greed has been a major factor in the loss of public and cricket sponsors ’trust in the country. Three of the four permanently appointed CSA executives left in dubious circumstances, and government pressure was needed to persuade the chronically dysfunctional former board to resign in October 2020. By then, heavyweight sponsors had left.

But even the CSA can’t be blamed for all the bad sides of the game. In February 2014, BCCI – with the support of its counterparts from England and Australia – planned to take over the ICC which distorted the finances of the game in favor of the already wealthier national committees. India, the richest of all, has increased its share of the rights cycle from 2016 to 2023 to $ 440 million. The then 93 associated countries would have earned $ 230 million between them in the same period. Or almost 180 times less than India. Each.

The Indian argument was that since they made most of their money from cricket, they should keep most of the profits. Other committees objected, and in April 2017 it was decided that India would receive $ 293 million and each of the other full members $ 132 million. Collaborators would share $ 280 million. Cricket in South Africa has never recovered.

The president of the BCCI who sparked this revolution was N. Srinivasan. His right hand? Sundar Raman. Eight years later, Raman – the first head of IPL operations and later its chief executive – was involved in attempts to undo some of the consequences of the changes made by Srinivasan.

It’s not too late and maybe not too little, but helping cricket in South Africa get out of the financial ditch he stumbled into could be considered a unique triumph of Raman’s career. If, of course, there is.


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