The divide between Cricket Australia (CA) and players seems to have gotten deeper after it was revealed that the cricketers will now manage their own brand through a separate company.
The decision looks like another step towards ensuring financial security for the players ahead of a June 30 expiry of their current contract deal.
The company, names as ‘The Cricketer’s Brand’, has been inspired by the American sports model and will mainly involve the intellectual property rights of the cricketers related to commercial deals with sponsors and also access to players for broadcasters and other media. It will be looked after by former NSW batsman Tim Cruickshank.
This company will serve as a source of revenue for the Australian Cricketers Association, after CA last year indicated it was no longer comfortable funding the players’ body via an annual grant in exchange for intellectual property rights.
It is understood that the ACA is almost done with the signings of all CA contracted players to the new entity, which would commence operations on July 1.
“When players are threatened with unemployment and when they learn they receive 0% of the digital revenue they generate they are naturally concerned,” Nicholson said. “The Cricketers’ Brand has been established to better manage these concerns and those of all affected parties.
“In the US, almost all of their major sports have set up models to help sustain the players’ income through a mechanism that also supports their association in delivering services and programs that also benefit their colleagues.
“With new broadcast rights and commercial partnerships in cricket we expect that the players will benefit from having a more streamlined level of involvement through the ACA’s direct partnership with these entities. We will work closely with player agents, who will maintain their important role in relation to a player’s personal sponsors and playing arrangements.”
The standoff between ACA and Cricket Australia has generated chaos in recent weeks. While the players remain concerned, the sponsors and broadcasters also seem to be worried due to the uncertainty of the Ashes tour which has hampered the promotion plans.
Test cricketers have also shown no reluctance in threatening an Ashes boycott if the dispute over the new revenue model isn’t resolved.