Thabang Moroe. Picture: GALLO IMAGES
Thabang Moroe. Picture: GALLO IMAGES

Cricket SA has budgeted for a R40m loss ahead of the yet-to-be-named T20 league to be staged in partnership with the SABC.

While the state broadcaster’s COO Chris Maroleng was reluctant to reveal the financial details of the partnership‚ Cricket SA CEO Thabang Moroe was more forthcoming.

"The R40m loss that was given to us is going to involve the operation of the league‚ paying for production‚ salaries for players and match officials‚ equipment for players and match officials in terms of kit‚ logistics‚ lodging and essentially everything that you’d need to run a cricket tournament‚" he said.

"We were told that given the projections we have made in terms of the revenue‚ the leeway that we’ve been given is a R40m loss, and this is just exercising prudence here given that Cricket SA is faced with a difficult four-year financial cycle.

"We currently pay for all the production on our products‚ including internationals, so we can keep the production in-house. We have been told by the powers that be we have to stretch the rand as much as we can," Moroe said.

The tournament‚ which will be broadcast on SABC‚ will take place from November 9 to December 16.

Exclusive partnership

Cricket SA and the SABC announced their joint exclusive partnership on Tuesday and the deal is covered by a memorandum of understanding that will run for three years. The tournament will consist of six teams that will be announced in due course.

Maroleng said the SABC partnership with Cricket SA for the tournament was a mutually beneficial one and had given the corporation a different idea in terms of how to approach rights acquisition matters for future events.

"At this stage‚ we’re not really in a position to talk about the specifics around the commercials because the memorandum of understanding with Cricket SA and their past engagements with partners doesn’t allow us to divulge the pure commercial terms of the contract.

"What I can say is that it is a lucrative opportunity for the SABC‚" Maroleng said.

"The challenge in the past was that we didn’t acquire rights in a way that allowed us to derive commercial value.

"We aren’t in a position to disclose the commercial aspects and we are in a partnership with Cricket SA that is commercially viable," he said.

"The partnership has been done in a way that doesn’t expose the SABC to commercial risk. This presents us with a framework that can help us conclude rights that doesn’t expose the SABC to risk."

The national broadcaster was expecting to make a loss in the first season of the tournament as it was a market trend for T20 tournaments to lose money before recouping those losses in future tournaments.

Moroe said no notification had yet been received from the Board of Control for Cricket in India with regard to the 2019 Indian Premier League.

India’s general election takes place in 2019 and presents a potential security clash as the tournament has to be held earlier than normal to allow players to join their national teams ahead of the World Cup that starts on May 30.

"We haven’t received any communication as far as the Board of Control for Cricket in India is concerned in regards to bringing the Indian Premier League here, so we don’t know‚" Moroe said.

"From an interest point of view‚ they’re looking at both SA and Dubai.

"Off the top of my head‚ I can say, yes‚ we’d be happy to have it here, but there are various factors we need to look at.

"There’s our domestic season and the fixturing in that regard, and the impact our grounds will suffer in terms of hosting additional content.

"There’s also the preparation for the World Cup," Moroe said.