The broadcast deal with Star demonstrates that the value of cricket will not diminish, said Mr N. Srinivasan, President, Board of Control for Cricket in India.
“It shows the faith broadcasters have in the game. Cricket is still powerful.” The BCCI is richer by Rs 3,851 crore and this money will be well spent, assures the BCCI chief.
From setting up cricket academies and beefing up stadia to increasing bench strength, the BCCI has drawn up a detailed roadmap to improve the game, Mr Srinivasan said in a telephonic interview with Business Line.
Excerpts from the interview:
How will the media rights money from the Star contract be spent?
About 70 per cent of the income will be distributed to the States for developing infrastructure. With New Zealand, England and Australia slated to visit India, we need new stadia. A modern stadium today costs anywhere between Rs 100 crore and Rs 300 crore. Four new stadia – at Rajkot, Pune, Dharamsala and Dhoni's hometown Ranchi – will host international matches this year.
From the BCCI's share, 26 per cent goes to players. BCCI also runs a pension scheme. This year, part of IPL proceeds will be towards one-time benefit for old players.
The BCCI also spends heavily on the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore. This academy runs a coaching programme for under-16, under-19 players and India A team players; it also takes care of injury related training. We will also have three specialised cricket academies in Mohali, Chennai and Mumbai. BCCI also encourages States to set up rural academies. All these will help increase our bench strength.
Ranji Trophy matches are video-graphed and suggestions are given. BCCI is also giving importance to training of coaches and umpires.
There is a sea change happening structurally in the BCCI.
Critics have for long said cricket is losing its brand value. How would you respond to this?
Contrary to what people have been saying or speculating, the Star deal proves there is no slackening of interest in cricket in India.
I have complete faith in the Indian team. After the Nimbus contract was terminated, we immediately went ahead to draft a new tender around February-end. And in three weeks, we had two good bidders. Both bids were close.
This is good for cricket and shows the faith broadcasters have in the game. From Rs 31-odd crore in the previous contract, we will now get Rs 40 crore per match. That is step up for the BCCI. This shows the value of cricket will not diminish; it is still powerful.
Nimbus has not able to monetise telecast rights properly but Star has promised to do so effectively. Analysts feel this contract will not be viable from a P&L point of view. What is your take on this?
When the Nimbus deal ended, people predicted the BCCI would incur a loss. But that has not been the case. The Star contract has belied that. Star has a lot experience, being part of a large international group. I don't see them having any problems monetising.
The broadcast rights also include digital media rights… What does this entail?
Star has the whole package with all rights across Internet and mobile. It is up to them to use it the way they want to.
Can Star stream the matches live on its Web site?
Yes, as per the Internet and mobile protocol (the guidelines that define live streaming).
Are you satisfied with the calendar you have drawn for the coming months? How will you react to the allegation that the BCCI calendar is so packed that it leaves the players a fatigued lot?
That is not correct. The calendar is drawn at the ICC level based on the Future Tours Programme wherein each country must play every other member country once every four years, either at home or away.
Majority of our inbound tours happen between September and February due to weather reasons. No player is playing in all three forms of the game, except a few. We are not playing any more matches than our international counterparts.
How have things progressed in the ongoing IPL?
The IPL has got off to a nice start. Last year, the IPL was right after the World Cup euphoria; people had already watched so many games. IPL-4 was still good. This year, it will be better though it is too early to comment on numbers. But this year, there is less clutter around IPL.
What about the view that IPL this year has not drawn sponsors completely?
That there are still sponsorship slots left is speculation. Sony has the rights. I am sure they have made good use of it. How they market it is their business. But I am told they are happy. And it is also up to individual franchisees to do what they have to. I am quite satisfied.