20 Feb

In the wake of New Zealand Rugby receiving a NZ$465m (US$339m) offer from US-based private equity firm Silver Lake, Australian cricket is said to be discussing similar private equity options. 

According to a report from ESPNcricinfo, private ownership of Big Bash League (BBL) clubs is one of several private investment options currently being discussed, another is for the commercial functions of the BBL to be transferred to a separate entity to the governing body and partially sold to private equity. 

These measures would inject capital into Australian cricket at a time when the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has damaged the games finances. 

By September 2020, the governing body’s budget for protocols needed to combat the effect of the pandemic had already passed A$30m (US$23.6m). The extra expense was required to ensure a full season of cricket was played. 

Cricket Australia (CA) is also currently in the midst of a dispute with its free-to-air domestic rights-holder Seven West Media. The two parties are due to face off in court on March 15 as part of their ongoing row over the value of a media-rights contract following the onset of the Covid-19 crisis. 

Any private equity move however would create a major debate across the game in Australia, but is now closer to a serious discussion than at any time in the past ten years, according to the ESPNcricinfo report. 

Among those in favour of the move are the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA), who said this week that the broad concept of private equity investment needed to be re-examined. 

John Stephenson 


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