Cricket West Indies (CWI) President Ricky Skerritt has painted a challenging portrait of the governing body’s finances, pointing to a shortage of working capital in middle of broadcast deal still being pending renewal. The board of Caribbean nations is worried that despite of being on road since the last 6 months for the right media rights (broadcast & digital) partner for the next cycle, all talks with the potentials suitors are still in air.
“The broadcast rights money expired in December last year and we still do not have completed negotiations with most countries …,” he said. “One, you should really enter the market about two years before the end of the [deal] to start negotiating and trying to cajole and to convince the broadcasters to do business with you. We didn’t go to the market till around the same time I became president last year so we’ve not had enough time in the market and to make it worse, the market has become very, very uncertain. So revenues which under normal circumstances we would have already begun collecting from broadcast rights, we have not done as yet.” said Skerritt.
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It is worth noting that the CWI’S seven year deal with incumbent Ten Sports (Now Sony Pictures Network) lapsed in the month of January. InsideSport has reliably learnt from its sources that the CWI commercial team and partners have been pitching the new rights cycle to both SPN and others for sometime now. But despite that no understanding could be reached with the potential partners. Now the world suffering with the menace of Covid19, the renewal with SPN or any one else looks really unlikely according to industry experts.
“They are in catch-22 situation. Rights market is completely dried up. The next home series for them starts in July against NewZealand and then South African goes to W.I. And in the current circumstances I really doubt they will get decent values for the rights”, says Ashish Chadha, CEO of Sporty Solutionz, Leading sports media rights expert in the territory.
The issue for Cricket West-Indies does not end there. According to the President of board, the other income of board had also fallen short of projections which has further escalated financial issues for the board. Skerritt, a former tourism minister in St Kitts and Nevis, said grants from cricket’s world governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC), was a prime example which was less than what was promised.
“West Indies cricket has been suffering for some time from a shortage of working capital. Basically we spend more money than we earn most years,” Skerritt said. We had been told that the ICC would be granting us a total of US$128 million over a seven-year period… well the ICC earnings fell a little bit and instead of getting 128 million over seven years, we’re going to be getting 119 million over the same period,” Skerritt pointed out.
“So that means West Indies was expecting an additional nine million dollars which we probably wouldn’t get but which we’ve pretty much already spent.”
CWI’s fixed costs, Skerritt explained, stood at around US$45 million and this was serviced largely by ICC monies and broadcast revenue. Skerritt said CWI would continue to navigate choppy financial waters going forward.
“Revenues continue to decline, expenses are fixed and even when you try to reduce some of the administrative or operational costs, you still have payrolls that exceed US$1.5 million dollars per month to cover players, etc and other fixed costs that just won’t go away.”
Without any doubt, the situation is alarming for CWI and uncertainty surrounding around FTP, cancellation of events due to Covid19 is further making future unpredictable and unsustainable for them.