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Never-before riches for World Cup hopefuls

World Cup contenders are set for a financial bonanza with a record prize money of eight million dollars on offer for cricket's latest showpiece event.

cricket Updated: Feb 15, 2011 12:20 IST

World Cup contenders are set for a financial bonanza with a record prize money of eight million dollars on offer for cricket's latest showpiece event.

It marks a rise of three million dollars from the previous 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean, which itself was a five-fold increase from the 1999 edition in England.

The World Cup has come a long way since it was first held in England in 1975 with eight teams contesting just 15 matches over five playing days.

Clive Lloyd's West Indians earned 4,000 pounds for winning the inaugural tournament, and took home 10,000 pounds after retaining the World Cup four years later.

When Australia won their third successive title in the Caribbean in 2007, they carried home 2.2 million dollars, while losing finalists Sri Lanka pocketed a cool one million dollars.

When the champions of the 43-day, 2011 edition are crowned one-day kings at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai on April 2, they will receive 3.25 million dollars for their efforts.

The losing team can console itself with 1.5 million dollars.

With an additional 30,000 dollars kept aside for the winners of each first round match, the champions stand to gain another 180,000 dollars if they win all their six preliminary games.

The two losing semi-finalists will take home 500,000 dollars each, while teams that are knocked out in the quarter-final stage will get 250,000 dollars each.

The prize money does not include the share of the profits the International Cricket Council dishes out to all the 14 participating teams from its joint revenue pool.

The financial bonanza for the February 17-April 2 event should not surprise anyone.

India, co-hosts of the six-week tournament with Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, are regarded as cricket's financial powerhouse generating nearly 70 percent of the sport's world revenues.

Former Indian cricket chief Inderjit Singh Bindra said South Asia beat a joint bid by Australia and New Zealand for the 2011 event by promising higher profits.

"We assured them a profit of 400 million dollars," Bindra, who was one of the chief architects of the Asian bid and now works as an adviser with the ICC, said.

"No one can make money for cricket as India can."

With the ICC expected to spend around 50 million dollars on the event, the tournament is already assured of a healthy balance sheet even before the first ball is bowled.

Cricket, with just 10 full member nations, is no match for football's money power where a prize fund of a whopping 420 million dollars was handed out for the last World Cup in South Africa.

But officials at the ESPN-Star Sports network, who paid a billion dollars to be the ICC's official broadcasters from 2007 to 2015, are not complaining.

"There is nothing bigger in the world of cricket than the World Cup and when it is held in the subcontinent it evokes passion and excitement like none other," said the network's managing director Manu Sawhney.

"We have not only roped in several big sponsors like Pepsi, Sony, Nokia, Maruti Suzuki and Philips, but have received a positive feedback from other advertisers."

ESPN-Star Sports have syndicated the coverage to 200 networks around the world, with all the 49 matches to be broadcast live in the High Definition (HD) format for the first time.