According to Lee Germon, the chief executive of Cricket NSW, cricket in Australia lacks the necessary funding to protect the sport from competing T20 leagues and to support grassroots development.
Germon, who has previously captained the New Zealand cricket team and was CEO of Canterbury Cricket, recently met with sports organizations and private equity firms overseas on a fact-finding mission.
He believes that retaining the best players from overseas T20 leagues will be challenging under a movement towards free agency and that the greatest challenge for states is how to invest in grassroots cricket. This means relieving the volunteer burden and making the game attractive to kids.
Germon’s interest in broadening revenue streams was piqued when New Zealand Rugby sold 6% of its commercial operations to Silver Lake Capital for $200 million.
This allowed the All Blacks to compete with the contracts being offered by Japanese and English club rugby and allowed greater investment in grassroots.
Germon suggests that private equity firms may be interested in investing in cricket as the sporting landscape changes rapidly.
The Australian Cricket Board is exploring potential global investment opportunities as they seek to grow and strengthen the game while ensuring its long-term prosperity.
They are in talks with investment banks, financial sponsors, commercial partners, and key sporting groups, including CVC Capital. CVC has invested in other sports, such as Formula 1, MotoGP, Indian Premier League cricket, volleyball, and rugby.
They have also struck media rights deals with soccer’s La Liga and Ligue 1.
The flat Cricket Australia broadcast deal with Fox Sports and Channel Seven for $1.5 billion over seven years has left cricket officials wondering how they can ensure the Big Bash salary cap receives the increase necessary to compete with the proliferation of T20 competitions cashed up by Indian businessmen.
Negotiations between Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers Association are ongoing, and a new memorandum of understanding is due to be finalised in the next month or so.