Amid Covid19 related issues and mounting commercial challenges, the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) is planning to starts its operations as soon as possible. According to BCB, the tour to Sri Lanka is still undecided but they want to resume cricket activities soon. Reason, the commercial challenges are mounting for the board – they are yet to hit the market with the new media rights tender and also the Bangladesh team sponsorship deal is currently pending.
BCB Still Undecided about the Tour to Sri Lanka
The Sri Lanka Cricket Board is ready to host the tour, claiming that they are so far successful in preventing the further spread of the deadly virus that caused mayhem around the world. As of last week, Sri Lanka reported just 1643 cases and 11 deaths from the Covid-19. However, among them 811 people has already recovered. The Lankan cricket board has already started practice session with 13 players in a bid to gear up for the upcoming series.
While the Sri Lanka offered Bangladesh to visit the country in scheduled time, the BCB is yet to take any decision this but the board would keep the players ready as part of brining cricket back to the ground, said CEO Nizam Uddin Chowdhury, reports BSS.
“There is a plan to bring back cricket as early as possible and the groundwork has started already,” Chowdhury said.
“Even though there is no decision on Sri Lanka tour, which would depend on many things, we want the players to be ready and start their usual activities. Currently, the players and coaching staffs have been in touch through online and devising a plan to how they could resume the cricket,” he added.
Chowdhury said that they haven’t taken any decision yet on Sri Lanka and it would entirely depend on the permission of the government.
“The BCB is yet to take decision on this but it’s not that only the BCB’s decision will be enough for this. The government’s permission is also needed to make this tour,” he said.
“But whatever it is, the players should be ready. BCB always wants to ensure that players would be ready regardless of any situation.”
He however disclosed their roadmap of bringing cricket back: “The concerned people are already aware of the health guidelines and doing their job by maintaining some rules. The safety of the players and the other concerned people are given top most priority.
“We are mulling for Covid-19 test for everyone. The stadium and the equipment, which is used by players and other coaching staffs, are being cleaned regularly.”
He further said the BCB would allow players to have individual practice session when they will think the situation is in favour.
“After some days, we’ll allow players to have individual practice session in the stadium. Three players can practice by maintaining social distance at a time. We are also keen to resume cricket but we are not willing to take any risk,” he concluded.
Meanwhile Commercial Challenges mounting for Bangladesh Cricket Board
Commercial Challenges – Media Rights Deal Ended, Long term team sponsor still not closed
Before the Covid19 hit everyone, BCB were desperately trying to lock a new national team sponsor. Not only this, BCB’S media rights deal with GaziTV has expired already and due to Covid19, they are yet to hit the market. The USD 20.02 Million deal with GaziTV signed in year 2014 has ended on 30th April 2020.
The BCB’s sponsorship deal with Anglo-Dutch consumer giant Unilever expired in January and it was in the process of naming a new sponsor before the global coronavirus pandemic began. On January 21, BCB sought an Expression of Interest for a two-year long team sponsorship bid with a floor price of USD 6.5 Million. It however could not attract any sponsor before the home series against Zimbabwe, which forced the cricket body to take an interim sponsor in Akash, a DTH company owned by Beximco.
Coronavirus pandemic is further mounting BCB’S problems. BCB who by now should have been in the market to woo the new media rights partner for the next FTP cycle is currently clueless on the right timing for the launch of the media rights tender.