Cricket Australia is being urged to consider allowing private investors from India to buy into Big Bash League teams and have been told it would re-energise the competition and potentially open the door for players from that country to play in the league.
A decade after CA knocked back a private ownership model for its then embryonic city-based tournament, there is again a push for foreign interests to be able to buy into the teams, currently owned by the state associations.
Cricket Australia is being urged to allow private ownership for its Big Bash League clubs.Credit:Getty Images
“Fresh capital, fresh partnership, fresh ideas, programs and understanding, it would clearly be a winning proposition,” Reddy told the Herald and The Age. “You’re not giving anything away. You shouldn’t see it as I’m selling my stake . You should see it as, ‘I’m going to grow the value of this because I’m partnering with someone else’.”
Reddy – who advises the Delhi-based GMR Group, India’s largest private airport operator – says Indian investors can see the strategic benefits of BBL ownership to their non-cricket projects.
“That’s been my advice to the chairman of that group, to say, ‘I think if you’re interested in looking at things like the Western Sydney airport, just as an example, we should also be looking at participating in Australia with the BBL being the natural opportunity’,” Reddy said.
Reddy and Ravneet Gill, the former head of Deutsche Bank in India who helped raise $200 million in capital when privatisation was first discussed in 2008, say there would be “significant interest” should CA put a proposition on the table.
“If I do see any opportunity then I know easily who are the two or three investors I’d go to,” Reddy said.
Gill was equally confident of finding buyers.
“Those conversations are not recent but could I think of a whole bunch of people who would be very interested? The answer to that is an unequivocal yes,” Gill said.
Private investment has become a key part of the financial model of T20 leagues in India, the Caribbean and Pakistan, but CA was sceptical in 2011 whether the motives of investors were in line with those of the game.
The teams were valued at $50m each with potential buyers taking a 49 per cent stake – but it’s unclear how much the eight clubs would now be worth.
Gill said the track record of Indian investment in foreign leagues showed they did not want to take control from the home board. He says the injection of private enterprise would bring with it a “dynamism” to the BBL.
“This is not about control. I’m sure whoever buys the BBL teams would want the cricket establishment to make the fundamental decisions,” Gill said. “They would bring more commercial savviness, a more entrepreneurial mindset which can only help the Big Bash.
“In this socialist state environment [where states own the clubs] your survival is not an issue. Everything is good to have but not necessary. I don’t think that necessarily brings out the best in any environment.”
Gill said Indian investment would bring with it sponsors from the cricket-mad nation and break down the door to India for the BBL.
“It will at some point in time also nudge the BCCI to allow Indian cricketers to participate in the Big Bash,” Gill said.
Most Viewed in Sport
From our partners
Source: Read Full Article