93 offers for 28 ICC events, BCCI non-committal
Even as the International Cricket Council (ICC) waits to see if the year-ending T20 World Cup can be staged as per schedule, there has been some progress in efforts to find bidders to host ICC events for the proposed 2023-31 rights cycle.
In response to the ‘expression of interest’ communication sent out to all members’ boards, including the associate nations, the ICC has received 93 offers for 28 events to be staged in the eight years, from 15 member boards. Sources in the know confirmed that India, England and Australia have responded as well. “Three member boards did not get into specifics of any event. A total of 18 boards responded,” the source said.
The proposed rights are contentious as the ICC plans to schedule one world event every year from 2023 to 2031. At the heart of the dispute is the introduction of two additional world events–a 10-nation T20 Champions Cup in 2024 and 2028. This scheduling would eat into any bilateral cricket that bigger boards like the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) may want to plan, for which it currently holds media rights amounting to R 60 crore per match.
Neither the BCCI nor the ICC wanted to speak on the issue. It’s understood the BCCI’s response is only to stay in contention when discussions on the rights come up in future meetings. When expression of interest was first sought by the ICC last year, the BCCI was reserved in its response. “Increasing ICC events will have wide-ranging repercussions on bilateral cricket and therefore all aspects need to be discussed and analysed threadbare,” wrote the BCCI.
Apart from the eight main men’s events, ICC is also seeking bidders for the same number of women’s events, the World Test Championship finals every alternate year as well as U-19 World Cups to be staged every two years. Considering the current standoff between the top boards and the ICC over revenue sharing, Future Tours Programme (FTP) and losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic that are yet to be ascertained, the ICC elections this July become crucial.