India tour bails out Sri Lankan board
India's upcoming Test and one-day tour of Sri Lanka has helped the cash-starved local cricket board wipe out its debts, an official said.cricket Updated: Jun 29, 2008 12:35 IST
India's upcoming Test and one-day tour of Sri Lanka has helped the cash-starved local cricket board wipe out its debts, an official said on Sunday.
"We paid off our 600 million rupee (six-million dollar) bank overdraft after getting an advance payment from television rights sold for the Indian tour," Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) media manager Shane Fernando told AFP.
Fernando declined to reveal details, but local media reported that the Dubai-based Ten Sports, which holds the television rights for the tour, paid 50 percent of the 15.2 million dollar agreed for the tour.
India will play three Tests and five one-day internationals during the six-week visit, with the first Test starting on July 23.
India, with its vast cricket-crazy television audiences, is the commercial superpower of the sport contributing almost 70 percent of the game's worldwide revenues.
"India's biggest passion is cricket. It's an advertiser's dream market," said Jude de Valliere of the Colombo-based Right Angle Sports Marketing.
"Any brand that associates itself with cricket is assured of a good return. Less affluent countries like Sri Lanka are not ashamed to cash in on India's financial muscle."
Sri Lankan cricket was not been short of sponsors after the island won its only World Cup under Arjuna Ranatunga's captaincy in 1996, but income has been running dry in recent times.
A major portion of the money that Sri Lanka Cricket, now headed by Ranatunga himself, earns these days is through sale of television rights to home internationals.
The SLC lost 11 million dollars when South Africa pulled out of a triangular one-day series in August 2006 after a bomb blast near the team hotel in Colombo.
India, the third team in the tri-series, stayed back to play one-day matches against Sri Lanka, but rain wiped out the hastily-arranged series.