The game of Cricket has changed at a serious pace in the last decade or so. There have been a number of attractive changes in the test cricket because fans simply refuse to watch the classic 5-day test matches. 300 is the new 250 in ODI cricket. Bowlers are being destroyed in the T20 format. And most of this is due to a number of T20 Cricket Leagues around the globe.
For better or worse, every cricket playing nation has its own T20 League nowadays. And thanks to the cricket fans, who prefer watching the shorter and more exciting format of cricket, these leagues have quickly gained a lot of popularity. And where there is popularity, the dollar bills follow!
Cricket Leagues have their pockets full with various brand deals, broadcasting rights, ticket sales and what not. But how do they compare against one another? Well, here is our list of seven richest cricket leagues:
Ram Slam T20 Challenge
One of the oldest T20 competition in the World, Ram Slam T20 Challenge is South Africa’s domestic tournament, first held in 2003-04. The 15th edition of the tournament, held in April-May 2019, was the final one as Cricket South Africa are set to restructure their domestic circuit.
The competition gained quite a popularity around the globe thanks to T20 specialists like AB de Villiers, David Miller and many more being the part of it. The exact figures for the revenues and sponsorship deal of the competition are unknown. But with title sponsors Ram, the leading courier company and broadcasting right to Super Sports, Ram Slam T20 Challenge is definitely amongst the top seven richest leagues.
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Bangladesh Premier League (BPL)
The Cricket crazy nation Bangladesh decided to follow the path of a number of countries around the globe in the form of a T20 competition of their own. The first edition of BPL was played in 2012 after the Bangladesh Cricket Board made a 350-crore deal with Game On Sports Group.
The franchise-based tournament, which currently has seven teams, is the 16th most attended Premier League and is going strong after six seasons. The seventh edition of the competition will kick-off in December 2019.
BPL earned $2.6m through sponsorships in 2016-17 and generated the gross revenue of $51m. GTV and Maasranga TV have held the broadcasting rights for BPL since 2017 for $76m. The total prize money for each season is around $1.5m.
Caribbean Premier League (CPL)
After their decline in test and ODI cricket, West Indies had T20 cricket to thank for their rebirth. The 2 times World T20 champions are currently best in the business when it comes to the shortest format of the game. In the form of Chris Gayle, Pollard, Andre Russell, and Dwayne Bravo, the Caribbeans have some of the big guns in the T20 format. So it comes as no surprise that they started their own league in 2013.
CPL’s estimated brand value is around $102m as of 2018 and India’s leading automobile brand, Hero MotoCorp is their current title sponsor. The competition has also gained a lot of popularity thanks to Shahrukh Khan’s investment in the Trinbago Knight Riders.
The competition allows the purse of $600,000 to each franchise in the auction. CPL’s total prize money per season is around $1m.
Pakistan Super League (PSL)
Despite their issues of hosting games in Pakistan, the PCB has done a commendable job of running PSL smoothly for four seasons. The competition started in 2016, where the commercial rights were sold to the initial five franchise for $93m for a span of 10 years.
Since then, the PSL has grown at a superb speed with its market value reaching up to $300m in 2017, according to Arib Habib, the CEO of one of Pakistan’s largest business corporation. The PCB also announced a profit of $2.6m in the very first season.
Pakistan based Habib Bank Limited (HBL) has been the competition’s title sponsor since the start and even renewed the contract in 2019 for $14.3m for the span of three years.
PCB spends the sum of $1m in prize money and allows its six franchise a purse of $7.2m in total. PTV Sports and Geo Super hold the current broadcasting rights for a reported $36m.
Natwest T20 Blast
The oldest active T20 competition Twenty20 Cup or Natwest T20 Blast, due to sponsorship reasons is England’s biggest domestic competition in cricket’s shortest format. Unlike other leagues, ECB has kept their focus on providing grass root players with an opportunity in the league.
The number of teams participating in the competition is also more than other leagues by some distance, with 18 teams in total from England and Wales. Teams are given a purse of $45m in total and the prize money goes up to $2.6m.
UK’s leading sports channel, Sky Sports has bought the broadcasting rights for the T20 Blast for $120m. Although this number looks bigger than most of the other league around the world, it is actually a bargain deal after taking the time span of the tournament and the number of matches into consideration.
Big Bash League (BBL)
The second most famous T20 League around the world and one of the biggest attraction on the cricketing calendar – Big Bash League is Australia’s gift to the cricket world. The league was established in 2011 and has gone from strength to strength in the last eight seasons. Cricket Australia was also the first board to start the Women’s T20 League in the form of Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL).
Broadcasting is obviously the biggest source of income for BLL in the sports-loving nation. Network Ten held the rights until 2018 for $100m. But last year Cricket Australia signed a deal with Fox Cricket and Seven Network for their entire cricketing calendar worth $1.12b. Although this amount includes everything from domestic circuit to international matches, BBL is definitely one of the biggest reason behind the towering money.
CA also increased the prize money from the 2015-2016 season – a total of $890,000 for the top four. Additional $600,000 also goes specifically to the clubs and not to the players. There was an increase of $1.6m in the total salary cap in 2016.
Indian Premier League (IPL)
Surprise, surprise, the Indian Premier League is at the top spot!
The competition that changed the face of the game with its establishment in 2008, is not only the biggest cricket tournament but also amongst the biggest leagues in the entire sporting world. The IPL itself is one of the biggest brands at the moment with its brand value at $6.3b in 2018, according to Duff & Phelps, a consultancy firm. The competition has not only changed the game but has also affected India’s economy, contributing ₹11.5b to the nation’s GDP in 2015.
Vivo, current title sponsors of the IPL signed a five-year contract in 2018, worth ₹2,199 crores ($341m), 11 times the sponsorship fees paid by DLF in 2008.
IPL also allows its franchise to spend quite a money in player auctions with a ₹80 crore purse for each team. Which means ₹640 crores ($91.9m) can be spent on the players alone, a huge jump in comparison to BBL and other major leagues. In 2019, ₹50 crores ($7.2m) were spent on prize money, with Mumbai Indians alone pocketing ₹20 crores.
And now coming to the hen which lays the golden eggs – Broadcasting rights! The world went crazy when Star India bought IPL’s broadcasting rights for five years in the deal worth ₹16,347.5 crores ($2.55b). The deal is the most expensive broadcasting deal in cricket without any doubt. But it also made IPL the third richest league in terms of money earned per game, only behind NFL and EPL and ahead of NBA and MLB.