The United States of America is now ready to hold its own Indian Premier League (IPL)-like twenty-20 cricket tournament. Cricket Holdings America LLC (CHALLC), a joint venture company with five stakeholders including United States of America Cricket Association (USACA), is in process of issuing tenders for six franchisees initially, which will play a T20 tournament in June-July next year.
Like initial IPL seasons, USALLC is also looking massive potential entertainment appeal to women and children and a strong overlap with entertainment industry.
“We have been working on this since two-and-a-half years, taking with multiple cricket boards, trying to make sure we communicate well with all the cricket authorities – the International Cricket Council (ICC), the New Zealand Cricket etc,” Cricket Holdings America CEO Neil Maxwell told Business Standard.
He added, “Six licences will be made available, the formal price and other details will be announced by the end of this month. We will be seeking tenders from the companies around the world. We have already received expressions of interest from India, UK and the US. The process will be concluded by end of November – early December.” CHALLC expects that the average price per franchisee will be around $40 million. “Similar to IPL structure, the pay-off will be in 10 years. But profitability will be our focus and so we have also put a development grant in place.
We project that the franchisees will break even in the second and third year itself,” Maxwell added. As per CHALLC, US has been cricket’s second highest broadcast revenue earner in the world next to India, as a result of expatriates from major cricket playing countries. “Cricket has not been tapped into US yet so there is huge opportunity. And we will be conservative in case of salaries to players. The team will have a $1 million purse,” added CHHLC director Rajiv Podar. In the first tournament, the six teams will play only in New York with 19 matches in total during a three-week period. In 2014 the number of franchises will grow to eight and to ten by 2016. CHALLC is a joint venture between United States of America Cricket Association (USACA), which hold 30.99 per cent stake, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) which owns 29.01 per cent and remaining 40 per cent is owned by Top Bloom Corporation Limited, Podar Holdings International and Insite Organisation. It has the backing of the ICC and the support of current players through the Federation of International Cricketers Association (FICA). CHALLC has licensed exclusive commercial rights to stage cricket in the United States.