South Africa has pulled out of the ODI series in Australia as they clash with their new T20 franchise league. According to cricket enthusiasts, this sudden departure of the team has sounded the death knell for the (bilateral) cricket series between the two countries, especially the ODIs. Already, the mushrooming T20 series (T20 Franchise League) continues to wreak havoc on the international table.
It is no surprise that South Africa has reached this result with this T20 series that has been increasing in cash flow. But, this sudden departure of the team brings some risks to the team. One such step is the 50-over ODI World Cup series to be held next year. As the team has refused to play in the series against Australia, the team will lose points. This will put direct qualification for the World Cup into question.
Businesses around cricket do not support Tests and “meaningless” bilateral series, say business experts we spoke to. Earlier in an interview with this magazine, Uday Shankar, former president of Star and Disney India, said that there is no test cricket market and most broadcasters are running it.
Not only Test cricket but also bilateral ODI series are at risk. The international schedule has already been adjusted. Fewer and fewer ODIs are played these days. Thus, there is often much change and rearrangement in the schedule.
“Should we save cricket or not? What do you think would have happened to cricket if Kerry Packer hadn’t done what he did? Need 13 Test matches in a year – 65 days! How many holidays do you get? 20 days?
Is that enough to see all the tests?” Shankar told The Indian Express in 2017, days after his network forked over Rs 16,000 crore to acquire the media rights for the Indian Premier League between 2018 and 2022. Now, the media rights for the IPL series have reached a new high of 43,000 crores.
“Business does not run the game. The popularity of the game drives the prostitution industry. Apart from a few summer Tests in England and Australia, have you seen the full stadium? In today’s world, who do you expect to be on TV or at the stadium to watch a five-day tournament? Our data suggest that people spend an hour watching T20, ODI, or Test matches. This is BARC data. Adapting to the business of Test cricket. Shankar said.
He also spoke about how the business of cricket is driven by what the fans want. “Fans love the T20 format and it’s easy to misunderstand a broadcaster’s perspective. Because we seem to be the guys in it for the money. This is true. But you only make money when fans like something. This wholesale model of buying expensive cricket rights is not always sustainable. Sports consumption here is the lowest in the world. Until that changes, the sports business is going to be tough.” Said that.
2 new teams have been added to the Indian IPL this season. It was an early indicator of the growth of the IPL brand. BCCI earned 1.7 billion dollars from this series. It is noteworthy here that the Lucknow team was sold at 250 percent more than the base price.
ICC Tests will continue, ICC has tried to give importance to Tests with Test Championship. But that is not enough to prove it.