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Ken Borland

CSA and SuperSport could not turn down deep pockets and experience of IPL owners 0

Posted on August 29, 2022 by Ken

With teams like the Chennai Super Kings and the owners of the Mumbai Indians investing in South Africa’s new T20 league, sources say Cricket South Africa and SuperSport could not turn down the millions of dollars they stand to make and have awarded all six franchises to IPL bidders with deep pockets and plenty of experience in operating professional sport franchises.

CSA confirmed that the owners of the six franchises in the new league to start next January would be Mumbai Indians owners Reliance Industries (based at Newlands); RPSG Sports Private Limited, the owners of Lucknow Super Giants (Kingsmead); Sun TV Network Limited, the owners of Hyderabad Sunrisers (St George’s Park); Chennai Super Kings (Wanderers); Royals Sports Group, of Rajasthan (Boland Park) and JSW Sports, the co-owners of Delhi Capitals (SuperSport Park).

And, in keeping with the Indian Premier League being the richest cricket tournament in the world, those six investors’ bids reportedly far outstripped any other of the 20-odd Expressions of Interest CSA received. Sources say the average bid for a franchise amounted to $25 million, and nobody else could compete with those numbers.

The team owners will pay 10% of that figure per year, for 10 years. CSA get roughly half of that annual fee, amounting to $1.25 million per team, per year; and that amounts to $7.5 million per year, which, by today’s exchange rate, is a whopping R128 million per annum.

It is not exaggerating to say domestic cricket will die without that extra income allowing CSA to subsidise their vital pipeline.

Over the 10-year lifespan of these franchise deals, that will be an injection of more than a billion rand into South African cricket.

One South African cricket insider described it as “crazy money” and, with an appealing time zone in terms of the Indian market, the new T20 league should become an international brand in its own right.

It is believed the Chennai Super Kings put in an enormous $40 million bid for the Wanderers franchise, which is probably 10 times more than the leading local bidders could afford.

The compulsory local development initiatives that all bidders had to have as part of their submissions is also an appealing prospect for the domestic game. It is hoped that these IPL owners will allow the provincial structures based at the six venues to play an active role in the league, rather than just flying in and taking over the premises for a couple of months and then jetting off again.

With the Indian teams having made such a massive investment, could the South African league be the first to benefit from an allowance for current Indian players to compete in the tournament in the years to come?

Bulls take deep into the 2nd half to rout boisterous Zebre 0

Posted on April 04, 2022 by Ken

It took deep into the second half before the Bulls were able to finally rout a boisterous Zebre Parma side 45-7 in their United Rugby Championship match at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi at the weekend and coach Jake White admitted that his team had suffered from a bit of over-eagerness in the first half.

Several chances went abegging in the first half and it was only thanks to two tries in the last 10 minutes of the first half that the Bulls went into the break 17-7 up.

“In the first 25 minutes we had to find our feet, so we scored 45 points in the last 55 minutes,” White said. “At the beginning there were a few chances we did not finish, but I’m generally quite happy with the way we played.

“It’s not that easy to come here to Parma, not even Munster managed to score more than 34 points here in January and they are one of the great European sides.

“Zebre had also only lost three players to their national side and were relatively unchanged. So there are a lot of positives for us, especially the five points that means we stay in the competition, but we will keep our feet on the ground.

“You’ve got to earn the right to go wide, we went too quickly a couple of times and there were knock-ons. As soon as you become more direct then you create the space out wide,” White said.

While White questioned the small number of times his team was awarded penalties for Zebre being offsides, he did say he was pleased with the tempo of the game allowed by referee Adam Jones.

“The offsides maybe could have been policed better, Zebre would shoot off the line and we got caught a bit, they were coming at us the whole time,” White said.

“But I was very happy with the pace of the game, the tempo was what we need in the URC for us to compete. It was a significant difference to what we’ve been getting at home.

“There was pace on the ball, a much higher ball-in-play time, and that allowed us to keep putting them under pressure with wave-after-wave of attack. The referee managed that well.

“We want to attack, you need to score tries when you’re playing in a whole year long competition. You have to back yourself to put points on the board. To score 45 away from home is the outcome we wanted,” White said.

100th meeting between Boks & All Blacks to happen in unlikely venue of Townsville, deep in the tropics in northern Queensland 0

Posted on September 09, 2021 by Ken

The All Blacks have agreed to base themselves in Queensland in order for the Rugby Championship to be completed, which means the historic 100th meeting between them and their arch-rivals the Springboks will take place in the unlikely venue of Townsville, in the northern reaches of the state and deep in the tropics.

The Springboks will leave for Australia on Thursday and will have to quarantine for two weeks, but in return they will have the benefit of being able to return to normal life thereafter, not needing to stay in a bubble. They can still train while in quarantine, ahead of their next match, against Australia on September 12 on the Gold Coast.

But it is their clash with the All Blacks on September 25 in Townsville that will capture the imagination, even though it is effectively being played as a curtain-raiser to the Australia versus Argentina match that follows.

“The two-week quarantine period means we will be on tour for just under six weeks, but we are looking forward to experiencing normal life after a year-and-a-half of living under several forms of adjusted Covid-19 restrictions in South Africa. This will certainly assist in ensuring that the players are fresh mentally when they take the field, which is essential for them to peak in form.

“We are pleased that the Rugby Championship schedule has been finalised and we are looking forward to continuing our campaign in Australia. We can now continue our planning to ensure that the players are ready for the next four matches from a physical and mental point of view, and we are excited about facing our old foes Australia and New Zealand again after kicking off the tournament well against Argentina,” Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber said in a statement on Tuesday.

For all the bluster about how boring Springbok rugby is and how they are unworthy world champions despite beating the British and Irish Lions recently, the Kiwis are now going to have to put up or shut up on September 25 and then again on October 2 on the Gold Coast, in what, on current form, should be the Rugby Championship decider.

Apart from the Springboks not needing to stay in a bubble after their quarantine, the other good news is that there will be spectators at all the matches. Given the level of aggression between Australian and New Zealand rugby at the moment, the local crowds could well be supporting the Springboks in their matches against the All Blacks.

Australia and New Zealand get the chance to sort out some of their issues on the field when they meet in Perth, as originally scheduled, probably next weekend.

You don’t have to be an economist to know this spells trouble for CSA 0

Posted on April 06, 2019 by Ken

You don’t need to be an economist to realise that Cricket South Africa (CSA) is in deep financial strife, but unfortunately their response looks set to come straight out of the socialist economics playbook used in Venezuela.

CSA’s Members Council will meet this weekend to rubber stamp a proposal to do away with the franchise system of six teams that, most stakeholders will tell you, has actually been working quite well, both in terms of keeping their heads above water financially in tough economic times and in ensuring the standard of domestic cricket is high enough to ensure a steady flow of quality players reach the Proteas.

They want to return to the system that was in place pre-2004 of having 12 teams, returning sides like Border and Northern Cape to the top table. There will no longer be two levels of domestic cricket – franchise and semi-professional.

Apparently, according to the figures CSA have been distributing to the provinces, that will mean 71 less players getting contracts and CSA will save R71 million over three years. That’s the sort of neat co-incidence that makes me suspicious.

My problem with this move is that it is not about cricket, but more about playing politics and ensuring the six franchises, a couple of which are growing strongly, are not in a position of power to challenge the many hare-brained schemes CSA come up with as their senior management lead their merry lives of excess.

CSA’s own reviews have stated that only seven fully professional teams are financially viable, so why would they want to increase the number to 12? My cynical thought is that they want to create a dozen dependants who will always do CSA’s bidding and not challenge the wayward administrators that so often populate their board.

In the current economic climate, fully professional teams in East London, Kimberley, Potchefstroom and Benoni are not viable and there is no way they will be able to keep up, in the long term, with the sides based in Johannesburg, Centurion, Cape Town or Durban.

Think of all the sponsorships and investments in their brands and stadiums those four franchises – the Lions, Titans, Cobras and Dolphins – have made in recent years, which will now be undone on a whim of CSA senior management. I predict that CSA is going to have to spend much more than R71 million in order to keep cricket alive and competitive in the six smaller teams they want to promote to the top table.

The actual workings of this new 12-team system have not been properly conveyed to CSA’s stakeholders and obviously the South African Cricketers’ Association (the players’ union) are going to want a lot more details as to how, when and why this dramatic change is taking place.

Perhaps the most laughable aspect of this new plan is that CSA chief executive Thabang Moroe repeatedly told the media this week that “as CSA management we don’t know what the Members are thinking until they tell us. The Members asked us to look at domestic cricket again and we need a directive from them, we need them to tell us what their concerns are. We merely play an advisory role, we cannot say no to the Members.”

Which is completely at odds with what the provinces have been saying, with one senior administrator telling me the plan was formulated by CSA. “When it comes to CSA, nothing starts with all the stakeholders sitting and discussing pros and cons, they just come and present us with the plan”.

It would seem the campaign promises of Moroe in his bid to be appointed CEO and by president Chris Nenzani in his efforts to secure another term are now due. Provinces like Border, Boland and Northern Cape are calling in their debt.

The CSA leadership, instead of trying to sort out some strained relationships in the franchises, most notably between Boland and Western Province at the Cobras, or making the tough decision and only adding one or at most two new franchises, have opted for the easy way out. Which will sadly be the road to ruin, with the smaller centres closest to the precipice.

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