Ploughing back the profits

Promotion of the game has always been the priority of the BCCI, which has a fine structure in place for junior cricket. The IPL earnings have helped the Board to pay the cricketers handsomely too, writes Vijay Lokapally.

An evening at the stadium to watch an Indian Premier League match is like going to a party. It hardly matters which team a spectator is cheering for; the moment he spots the camera panning him, he begins to jump up from his seat. Cricket is secondary here.

What is important is that the host association prospers thanks to the revenue generated by the IPL, and the association looks to make the most of it.

The state associations have benefited immensely by staging the IPL matches. Even the units that do not host the matches stand to gain monetarily. But then, how many of these associations plough back the profits into the game can make for an interesting study.

The method of distribution of revenue is standard. An association gets Rs.30 lakh per match in the IPL. Therefore, by hosting seven home matches, the association makes Rs.2.1 crore per season from tournament. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) also shares the revenues from the IPL with its affiliated units — barring the Railways, Cricket Club of India, All India Universities and the Services — with each reportedly receiving Rs.8-9 crore.

The MoU that the franchises and the host unit sign ensures the smooth conduct of the matches. The facilities to be provided by the host unit include housekeeping, volunteers and floodlights. The host also gets 15% of the revenue that comes from ticket sales. It also handles tasks related to obtaining permission for the conduct of the matches from statutory bodies such as the police and fire departments.

The associations also gain from the investments made by the franchises on venues for the conduct of the matches. “We do this to get better service and also provide better service to our fans and clients,” said an official of one of the franchises.

The associations benefit financially from the IPL and they use a portion of the revenues to upgrade the facilities at the venues each season. Normally a venue gets one international match every season — either a Test match or a one-dayer or a T20 — and the IPL schedule gives the associations the opportunity to test their facilities and make improvements wherever necessary.

Most venues in India use the earnings from the IPL to offer the spectators a better experience and provide the players facilities such as state-of-the-art dressing rooms and playing arenas. Of course, the 2011 World Cup provided the staging units the chance to upgrade the infrastructure and the beneficiaries were the players and the paying public.

Cricket watching has become a pleasant experience. The increase in revenues and subsequently the subsidies to the associations have seen the addition of turnstiles that prevents spectators from gate-crashing into the venues. Some venues, barring the Feroze Shah Kotla, have added giant screens. In fact, Kotla has remained an embarrassment for both the host and the visiting teams with shoddy sightscreens sticking out sorely.

Promotion of the game has always been the priority of the BCCI. It has a fine structure in place for junior cricket. The IPL earnings have helped the BCCI to pay the cricketers handsomely too.

One of the many gains from the IPL has been the emergence of world-class stadiums in Ranchi and Raipur. In fact, Raipur, with a 360-degree vision, spacious dressing rooms, adequate parking and spectator comfort, has received rave reviews from the teams. Of course, venues like Pune and Bengaluru stand out for giving priority to the spectators and the players. Hyderabad, Mumbai (Wankhede Stadium), Kolkata and Visakhapatnam are the other popular IPL venues. The IPL has also helped small centres like Dharamshala and Guwahati to put in place facilities that can compare with the best in the country.