Cricket Australia’s $200 Million Takeover Gamble

Cricket Australia is going all out in a bid to help a floundering sport.

Robert Whiteby Robert White

The next two weeks will see Cricket Australia decide whether or not to undertake a $200m takeover bid of the operations of all international cricket in the country, but the timing of the move means the decision can only be considered a gamble.

The current system sees the various state cricketing bodies incurring the gains and losses when matches visit their venues, but now Cricket Australia is seeking to take on the responsibility solely and it couldn’t come at a riskier time.

Cricket Australia will be running the upcoming Boxing Day and New Year’s Test matches against Sri Lanka as the first step in their takeover of power from individual state cricket authorities. The upcoming Tests will see Cricket NSW and Cricket Victoria each receive a guaranteed amount regardless of whether the matches win or lose money.

Cricket appears to be losing a lot of the national support it held in past decades; the first Test against Sri Lanka earlier this week drew less than 3,000 people on each of the fourth and fifth days despite the match coming to a thrilling conclusion- an emerging trend the sport has been dealing with of late.

The Twenty20 version of the sport and its Big Bash League is expected to lose more than $10.5m in 2012, after having lost a similar amount last year,  while crowds are down and television ratings have slipped. This month has seen two historically bad attendances in Sydney and Perth (both drew below 4,500 people) and its only hope will be a new broadcast rights deal set to be sold at auction in the near future.

Cricket Australia believes a national takeover is far from a risk. General Manager of CA, Mike McKenna, told The Australian that under one control cricketing revenues will be more efficient and balanced while states will see guaranteed money rather than running the risk of losses, much like what happened this week in Hobart.

With cricket currently experiencing an erratic relationship with the sport loving Australian public, universal control of the running of all major cricket events in the country surely seems like the logical solution.

Crave has Australian sport covered.

Follow Robert White on Twitter @RobertWhitebrrr.