BBL rival left ‘critically hamstrung’ as ‘fatal’ snub shakes cricket league to its core

Home » BBL rival left ‘critically hamstrung’ as ‘fatal’ snub shakes cricket league to its core
BBL rival left ‘critically hamstrung’ as ‘fatal’ snub shakes cricket league to its core

South Africa’s new domestic T20 league, mooted as a major rival to the Big Bash League, could be dead on arrival after a shock snub described as “fatal”.

According to multiple reports, no Indian broadcaster submitted a bid for the overseas television rights to the competition, which will overlap with the BBL in January.

Top South African broadcaster Neil Manthorp wrote that the new league, whose clubs are owned by Indian Premier League franchises, cannot survive without being broadcast in the cricket-mad nation.

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“The networks are aware that the SA20 (and Cricket South Africa) are not merely inconvenienced by the lack of a broadcast partner in India, but critically hamstrung,’’ Manthorp wrote in a blog post. “Fatally injured, in all probability.

“They may be able to limp through the first season but thereafter the funds would dry up and the project would be doomed.’’

Manthorp wrote that there were two possible scenarios that led to the major snub.

The first is that SA20 dramatically overpriced its product and the Indian broadcasters have baulked at the demand.

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He writes that the other is that the rival Indian networks have agreed to “work together to drive the price down before the free-for-all scramble to claim the prize when the starting price is right.”

Veteran cricket journalist Robert Craddock wrote that the incident serves as a warning to the BBL about the risks of a private ownership model.

Writing about the possibility of the BBL seeking private owners for clubs, he wrote: “There would be a high chance that, as was the case in South Africa, Indian Premier League franchises would buy most, if not all, the licences.

“But the television snub is proof private ownership has many complex threads.”

A number of big name international stars had either chosen to play in South Africa over the BBL, or have aimed to do both by missing the final stages of the latter.

Among those names include Rashid Khan, Liam Livingstone, Jos Buttler, Faf du Plessis and Sam Curran.

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