Seems like ECB’s The Hundred is getting quite a bit of interest. Both Multan Sultans (PSL) and Kolkata Knight Riders (IPL) have expressed interest in investing in the tournament. The 100-ball competition was meant to start this year but has been postponed due to coronavirus that has put an end to all sports in India and the world over.
Envisioned as a Twenty20 tournament, ECB have decided to add their own touch to the event by shortening the format further. Announced by ECB on 19 April 2018, the 100-ball cricket match would feature 15 six-ball overs followed by a 10-ball final over. Other changes that were proposed included doing away with the LBW rule completely. Nearly a year later from the announcement, the ECB revised the rules of the match by including ten 10-ball overs with bowlers delivering five or 10 consecutive balls.
The format has had a mixed reaction from critics. While some have criticised on shortening the already curtailed T20 format, others including England captain Joe Root have voiced support for it. As per Root, the tournament will bring a much-needed injection into cricket in England.
Initially, the ECB were against the involvement of private investment, but the worldwide pandemic has caused them to change their stance. Experts believe that Covid-19 could deal a financial blow to the ECB to the tune of £380 million.
ECB CEO Tom Harrison had the following to say to the UK government’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee regarding the ongoing situation “”We anticipate the cost of no cricket this year could be as bad as 380 million pounds. That is the worst-case scenario for us. “That would be the loss of 800 days of cricket across all of our professional clubs and the ECB. It is the most significant financial challenge we have ever faced.”
Can Kolkata Knight Riders and Multan Sultans Save the Day?
Multan Sultans is owned by Ali Khan Tareen whose father is a close aid to Imran Khan, the current Pakistan Prime Minister. Tareen has shown great interest in investing into the format and believes that investors should also have some links to the team they invest in.
Tareen in an interview with Cricinfo had the following to say, “I’m a Hampshire boy who loves Hampshire cricket,” he said. “I see it as a way to benefit the counties, so they get more money. If someone with no connections owns a side, they wouldn’t give a hoot about counties. Why would they? Someone like me, who’s an actual Hampshire fan, sees the real attraction of external investment as my opportunity to help Hampshire.
There shouldn’t be a case where the teams are sold fully to a random owner. I’ve heard of problems occurring at the CPL when owners haven’t been vetted, as well as the Global T20 in Canada. The ECB cannot afford to have issues like these happen to their league.
“What I suggest is they find people not to own and run teams, but to contribute financially to them because they care about a team or have connections to that area. Even right now, one person doesn’t run the team, a board runs the team. Maybe that one person then gets to sit on the board for a year. They can then help grow the profile of their side and by extension the league in different countries and leverage local connections. I get that most owners would want to control a side, but this isn’t about that.”
Shah Rukh co owned, Kolkata Knight Riders have also shown interest in investing in ECB’s 100. However unlike Tareen, KKR CEO Venky Mysore would like to have a controlling stake in the team they invest in. As per Mysore, passive investment is of no interest to them. The aim of KKR would be to grow a business and clearly their track record is sufficient to justify these demands.
KKR are considered as a top tier team in the IPL, ranked just below the Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians in terms of achievements. However, despite winning IPL titles in 2012 and 2014, the brand has worldwide presence thanks to Bollywood superstars Shah Rukh Khan and Juhi Chawala. As per Forbes, the team have the highest brand value in the IPL.
The management team of KKR have also demonstrated superb business acumen by investing in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL). Trinidad and Tobago Knight Riders (TKR) have been catapulted thanks to their parent company and have become a household name.
Shah Rukh Khan had the following to say about the acquisition “This is in line with our vision to expand globally and we are thrilled to become part of the great cricketing tradition of Trinidad & Tobago. The passion for franchise cricket in the Caribbean is evident with the success of CPL and we hope to bring all the best practices of KKR to the T&T franchise.”
The management team at CPL were equally vocal about the potential the partnership brings.
Damien O’Donohoe, Chief Executive Officer, Hero CPL, said: “This deal represents yet another great step forward in the story of the CPL as it grows in status and popularity around the world. KKR are a huge franchise in the world of cricket, so for a brand like theirs to choose to invest in the CPL proves that we are doing all the right things and heading in the right direction. It’s a really positive step for the competition and for Caribbean cricket in general.”
Pete Russell, Chief Operating Officer, Hero CPL, said: “We are delighted to welcome the KKR ownership on board. Shah Rukh is a huge name around the world and is also very popular in Trinidad & Tobago, so this is a perfect fit. Trinidad & Tobago is one of the heartlands of Caribbean cricket, and a hugely important market for the CPL, and this will help the franchise, as well as the wider competition, continue to grow both at home and around the world.”
Mysore believes that Kolkata Knight Riders can achieve similar results when working with ECB but that will have to come at the cost of a controlling share in the company. As details remain scarce, one this is certain and that KKR will most likely make their way across the pond and invest in the 100-ball competition.
Mysore had the following to say” “We’d be very open to evaluating it and would be very keen on it if it came about, but we don’t know all the details right now. As and when [the ECB] are ready, and if they ask us to evaluate it and send us a proposal, we’d look at it very positively and we’d be very keen.”
Title: Kolkata Knight Riders, Multan Sultans Show Interest in ECB’s The Hundred
Posted On: 14/05/2020
Author: Tony Willets