Star India Will Not Bid For Team India Jersey Rights, Says Star India CEO
With the Indian cricket in turmoil due to the ongoing tussle between the ICC and the BCCI, Uday Shankar, Star India chairman and CEO, has said that the stand-off between the governing body of the game and one of the most powerful cricket board is ‘disastrous for global cricket’.
The BCCI is vehemently opposing the ICC’s decision to implement a restructured revenue sharing model. The ICC is keen to abolish the ‘Big Three’ System from its revenue model, where India, England and Australia were supposed to get the major share of revenue. However, they are facing stiff resistance from the BCCI but with the majority of the Test playing nations including England and Australia backing the ICC, the Indian cricket board’s protest has weakened. And several reports are suggesting that India might pull out of this year’s ICC Champions Trophy.
However, Uday Shankar feels that such a step by India will be calamitous for the game.
“If India doesn’t participate in Champions Trophy it would be bad for the tournament. But if India loses their voice or even if they are not playing a leading role, it would be disastrous for global cricket. The country that delivers the largest share of fans and also the largest share of money in global cricket should have a say in the critical affairs of the game. It is in the best interest of cricket as a whole. The game can’t get stronger without it becoming stronger in India. We must ensure that we aren’t throwing the baby with the bathwater,” he told The Times of India.
Meanwhile, Uday Shankar said that Star would not bid for India’s jersey sponsorship. The BCCI, earlier this month, had initiated the Invitation to Tender (ITT) process for the five-year sponsorship for the Indian cricket team. But the global broadcasters of the game, whose sponsorship with the Indian team will end after the ongoing Border-Gavaskar series, are not willing to submit their bid due to the unsettled situation inside the BCCI.
Given all the volatility, we are indeed concerned about the health of cricket in the days ahead. No one seems to be talking about making cricket bigger and more popular. We have been very proud that our name is carried on the jersey of Team India. But given all the uncertainties, we have decided not to bid for it again. The commitments being asked for are too onerous without any clarity,” said Shankar.
“For us, the problem is, right now we do not see a consensual leadership in cricket.The power of cricket came from the fact that everybody was aligned. The global cricket leadership was generally aligned to drive it forward. The alignment seems to have broken down. Lack of clarity both, in ICC as well as BCCI, is our biggest concern right now. We have nothing to do with the politics of cricket. Currently, we have invested in cricket more than any other media company has ever done. Our investments in the game are to the tune of a few billion dollars. And hence the business risk for us is very very high,” he added.
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