The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has demanded they get a whopping 75 percent of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) total revenue. The ‘request’ may sound outlandish,outrageous even,but take a broader look at the sporting world and it doesn’t seem that bizarre after all.
The BCCI too is in favour of a revenue structure that better reflects the size of its financial contribution to the game. Currently,the only time broadcasting revenue is shared among Test-playing countries is during an ICC event,when the 10 full members equally split 75 percent of the total revenue generated.
The argument is not without merit.
One of the unending debates that has gripped Spanish and European football for close to a decade has been its revenue-sharing model. Real Madrid and Barcelona,the two outliers in the cash-strapped La Liga,contribute more than 50 percent of the revenue generated.
The two giants have remained firm on getting a larger share of the leagues overall earnings. Left with no choice,the federation ultimately had to budge and was forced to giving Madrid and Barcelona 23 percent each of the total revenue earned.
In stark contrast,teams such as Real Betis and Granada get just two percent despite playing the same number of games in the same competition every season. In other words,Real Madrid made over 140 million euros last season from TV income whereas Granada earned just 12 million euros. Barcelona too made 128 million euros more than Levante,who finished 11th in the previous campaign. While other major European leagues follow a similar revenue model,the disparity is not so massive.
La Liga’s system has been labelled as unsustainable in longer run. Even as Real Madrid and Barcelona continue to rake in the moolah,clubs with rich histories such as Valencia and Deportivo la Coruna are battling for survival. The system of distributing the earnings has further widened the revenue chasm.
According to reports,the BCCI received Rs 33 crore from the ICC last year. On the domestic front,the BCCI hands out 70 percent of its annual revenue to its 27 affiliated associations on equal terms.
Those in the know say it’s just a matter of time before the ICC bows down to the BCCI’s demands. However,the custodians of the game should think long and hard about the long-term ramifications of such a move on the cricketing world.
Mihir Vasavda is senior correspondent based in Mumbai.