Champions League T20 Has Cash Cache, But Doesn't Determine Best Team
Champions League Twenty20, which began its fifth edition Tuesday in Mohali, India, "is all about the money," according to Richard Lord of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Its total prize kitty is $6M, with $2.5M of that "going to the winning team." Even the "megabucks" Indian Premier League only gives its winners about $1.58M, while a T20 tournament "in a relatively rich cricketing nation," England's Friends Life T20, pays out just $320,000. However, no team that wins the CLT20 "can ever really claim that it's the best domestic T20 side in the world." As in the European football tournament of the same name, Champions League places "are allotted on the basis not just of results but also of the financial clout of teams' countries of origin." Of the 12 teams to qualify, four are from India, two from South Africa and two from Australia, with one each from the West Indies, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and New Zealand "making up the numbers." This is "hardly surprising given that the tournament is owned by the boards of India, South Africa and Australia," with the Board of Control for Cricket in India owning 50%. English teams "aren't participating because of a scheduling clash with the climax of the English domestic season." When the CLT20 was conceived, ESPN Star Sports bought 10-year broadcasting rights for $900M. TV audiences in the "all-important Indian market haven't always been great, but they improve dramatically when Indian teams play." As a result, the tournament "has spent an awful lot on marketing over the year," roping in Bollywood royalty, including brand ambassador Shah Rukh Khan, and "bombarding the airwaves with commercials" (WSJ, 9/17).