The Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) is set to be scrapped next week – if the BCCI gets their way.
Officials will meet on Monday (26) to decide the tournament’s fate following poor TV ratings and sponsorship revenue in recent years.
Insiders claim the Indian cricket board, the CLT20’s major backers, and broadcasters Star Sports are keen to pull the plug sooner rather than later but have to consult with the other shareholders first.
Since launching in 2009, the event, featuring the best T20 teams from around the world, has received a mixed reaction, with weakened squads and games being played in half-empty stadiums.
The BCCI is now expected to put pressure on minor shareholders Cricket Australia and Cricket South Africa to cut its losses and scrap the competition to focus further on enhancing the Indian Premier League (IPL).
They think having a Twenty20 tournament in India just two months after the IPL is overkill. With non-fashionable franchises from the likes of the Caribbean and New Zealand, the view is the CLT20 has never really taken off.
After paying about a billion dollars for rights to the CLT20, Star Sports has reportedly been losing $100 million a year and have raised their concerns in recent seasons.
Star are predicted to compete with Sony for exclusive IPL rights in two years time and could put any saved cash towards the bid.
A possible stumbling block, though, could be the financial losses for both IPL and overseas franchises. The top four IPL sides qualify for the CLT20 and certain sponsorship deals are dependent on qualification.
Overseas sides get paid a huge appearance fee of $200,000, a figure which exceeds the sponsorship revenue for most of the participants.
While the IPL big boys will likely survive, the future of the international teams will be a lot less secure.
South Africa has held the CLT20 before and that could be an option in 2015, although Indian franchises are not too keen on the idea of travelling abroad. The UAE is another possibility; it was a big hit in the country when the beginning of the IPL was held there last year.
The Mumbai Indians and the Chennai Super Kings have both won the CLT20 twice, while Aussie duo New South Wales Blues and Sydney Sixers have also been successful.