T20 Global League to cost CSA dearly

Ajay Sethi at St George’s Park cricket grounds in Port Elizabeth
Picture: Mark West

Losses running into hundreds of millions of rands likely, with broadcast deal yet to be signed

The increasingly troubled T20 Global League (T20GL) will cost Cricket South Africa (CSA) more than half the money it has in the bank.

Asked at a press conference yesterday about the scale of the losses the T20GL would incur‚ CSA acting chief executive Thabang Moroe reeled off a list of startling figures.

“At the moment we’re looking at a net loss of US$25-million [R343-million]‚” Moroe said.

“For the big teams – in Joburg‚ Pretoria and Cape Town – you’re looking at a loss of $1.5-million [R439-million].

“From a broadcast point of view‚ combining local and global rights‚ you’re looking at an accumulative figure of $17-million [R233-million] to US$18-million [R247-million]‚ roughly.”

CSA reported a credit balance of R655.4-million in their 2016-17 annual report‚ which was tabled in April.

Considering the financial calamity the T20GL is becoming‚ and the fact that CSA have committed R350-million to infrastructure upgrades over the next three years‚ the game could be staring at an empty banking account.

Moroe admitted CSA had been forced to lower their expectations of what the tournament would earn.

“Initially, we were looking at a total net revenue of US$32million [R439-million] as far as TV and central sponsorship are concerned. At the moment it will be in its 20s.

“We have cut down‚ but not to wane the quality of the tournament. We’re making sure our members are not the ones who get hurt the most.

“We’re confident we can help them regain those losses. CSA and the team owners will still suffer losses.

“Hopefully‚ depending on how well we negotiate with the broadcasters‚ the team owners will break even in year three.”

Nelson Mandela Bay Stars owner Ajay Sethi said he had made peace with the fact that his team would run at a loss for the first two years.

“We have committed and it is like any other business, takes three years [to make a profit]. Why would this be different?” Sethi said yesterday.

One of the T20GL’s eight franchises has already changed hands‚ but Moroe promised stability.

“All owners are committed to staying in the league‚” he said. “The owners are happy to accept those losses for the first two years.”

But they won’t be happy that‚ with the first ball scheduled to be bowled on November 3‚ broadcast deals have yet to be agreed and sponsors signed.

“We have a few companies that are waiting on the fringes‚” Moroe said.

“Obviously everything is tied to the broadcast deal. When you go and see a sponsor, the first thing they ask is‚ ‘Where is my brand going to be seen?’

“We are busy negotiating all broadcast deals. It’s just a matter of agreeing on finer details.

“As soon as I’ve shaken hands with all the various CEOs globally, we will be ready to announce the finer details of those deals.”

Board sources gave an assurance last week that the broadcaster would be secured by this Tuesday‚ then Thursday.

But Moroe was confident CSA were keeping their eye on the prize: “We’re taking knocks everywhere to make sure we do not water down the product. The product is cricket and the experience in the stadium.

“We want to make sure we protect that. Everything around that we’re watering down.”

Moroe‚ CSA’s vice-president‚ stepped into a void created last Monday‚ when the board and CEO Haroon Lorgat parted ways for reasons that have yet to be revealed officially.

“I will serve CSA with pride and make sure we deliver on the promises we’ve made . . . and that promise is delivering this league. We will start on November 3,” Moroe said. – TimesLIVE

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