E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: The Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) has signed a contract with Nimbus Corporation for a jaw-dropping $612 million. The BCCI’s present sponsorship and sale earnings are around Rs 3,354 crore, the breakup being: team sponsor Rs 415 crore, kit sponsor Rs 215 crore and media rights Rs 2,724 crore.
With all this money, what is BCCI’s plan for cricket in the country?
Or for that matter, the Indian Premier League’s?
IPL czar Lalit Modi recently announced his plans at a media conference.
Since time is money, and although the Indian and foreign media were invited, only three questions were allowed due to paucity of time. The function was held in the Taj Mahal hotel’s crystal ball room. The television rights of the 2-hour programme itself were auctioned for $ 50 million.
The members of each team flew into Bombay in their own brand-new “Air IPL” plane and helihopped to the Gateway of India.
After the now-mandatory gymnastics show by Chinese girls, songs by rapper Eminem, belly show by Shakira, Modi took the stage. He was accompanied to the stage by cheer girls of Vijay Mallya’s Royal Challengers.
After receiving a standing ovation from the glitterati, the IPL commissioner read out his vision of IPL over the next 5 years:
1. In IPL-3, three paying spectators will be ushered into their seats by their respective club’s cheer girls. A token charge of $25 or equivalent in rupees will be levied. This would generate the IPL revenue of additional $200 million.
2. There will be two breaks of 10 minutes after every 7 ½ overs. This will enable the cheer leaders to change their dress. It will also take care of complaint from spectators that they are tired of seeing the girls in the same dress for the entire duration of the match. The dressmakers will add $ 100 million to the IPL kitty every 7 ½ months.
3. IPL-4 will be held in grounds of all countries that play cricket. The host cricket boards will pay IPL a royalty of 10 million for each match. At least $200 million is expected as some matches will be played twice in a ground in one season.
4. An international cheer girls training school will be started in London before IPL5 Season. Umpire Billy Bowden will be the director. Since this is an honorary post, IPL will incur no expenses in the appointment.
5. The US cricket association wants to have IPL-7 matches in their cities. IPL will directly negotiate the media rights with CNN, ABC and NBC networks and we hope to get revenue of $ 1 billion at least. If President Barack Obama agrees to toss the coin for the inaugural match and the finals, the revenues will be doubled.
6. By the time we reach IPL-10, using stem cell research and human cloning, IPL intends to have look-alike robots for leading players like Sachin Tendulkar and Andrew Flintoff so that they don’t have to field. This also opens the door for superlative Twenty20 players of the past like Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri and Sanjay Manjrekar to stage a comeback.
With his proposals now laid out, Modi threw open the floor to the media and invited the three questions.
Question 1: Mr Modi, this is regarding fielding, a term used in cricket wherein the fielders chase the ball and dive to stop the ball making it difficult for the batting side to score runs. Don’t you think that had India fielded well and their batsmen run faster between the wickets they could have easily become the No. 1 ODI team? Wasn’t the sacking of fielding coach Robin Singh inappropriate?
Modi: I don’t know what you are talking about? My guess is, you must be talking about the 2009 one- day series. We have already moved on. I am in the 2014 IPL planning stage. I also don’t deal with the nitty-gritty of cricket administration any more.
Question 2: Mr Modi, what will happen to Test match cricket, I mean the classic cricket one plays with white pants and white shirts and a red ball for five days. It already looks dead now in 2009. I am afraid you will have to re-enter circa 2009 and answer my question.
Modi: I think the problem is with the dress. Let’s face it. How many of us wear a white pant and white shirt these days? Even while playing maidan or gully cricket? Everything has changed around. Isn’t it? We need to take a hard look at the dress and decide something on this. But again this comes under trivia.
Question 3: After planning IPL-50, Mr Modi what will you do with your time?
Modi: It is not easy organising these events in Moon or Mars. I have to make sure the logistics is just right no matter where we play.
Thank you, Ladies and Gentlemen.