Home / Industry / Media /  BCCI beats slowdown, profit soars to Rs526 crore

New Delhi: The last fiscal year, 2013-14, was not a great one for the economy.

Gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 4.7% according to an initial estimate, and 6.9% according to revised ones based on a new way of calculating GDP.

The expansion was the slowest in a decade. Several Indian companies saw their profits shrink.

But not the enterprise in charge of cricket.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) posted a profit of 526 crore in 2013-14, proving once again that cricket is slowdown-proof and that the board itself is an economic engine that chugs along smoothly, come rain or shine, almost independent of the performance of the Indian cricket team. According to its annual report, BCCI earned a staggering 1,194 crore from the 2013 edition of its Twenty20 tournament—the Indian Premier League (IPL)—as against 892 crore it earned in the previous edition (2012). The board profited from IPL, earning a surplus of 344.86 crore against the previous year.

“Cricket will always be a recession-proof sport (in the country), simply because it is the single most important game in India and by a long distance," said former BCCI treasurer Ajay Shirke, who quit the post in May 2013 in the wake of the IPL spot-fixing scandal.

“Our ratings in cricket have been volatile — we’ve been no.1 and gone down, but our fans have never given up. Even controversies, people have been talking about it, but I think those are isolated instances which the board could have handled much better. But it doesn’t affect the sport’s popularity in the eyes of its fans."

The profit from IPL is largely thanks to media rights income BCCI earns from the tournament.

In the year 2013-14, the income from media rights increased substantially—from 556 crore to 844 crore. Likewise, IPL has also earned heavily from what it calls franchise consideration, the yearly instalment paid by IPL franchises, based on their 10-year agreement with BCCI. This has marginally increased from 460 crore to 502 crore.

“Sports media rights have been rising globally. BCCI gets a majority of its money through that. For us, we have IPL, which does well and it’s a big distributor, and that holds true for BCCI also. They get a big chunk in their kitty through the IPL," said Rohit Gupta, president (network sales) at Multi Screen Media Pvt. Ltd, official broadcasters of the IPL.

BCCI also profited from its other Twenty20 tournament—the Champions League T20—which fetched its coffers 327.50 crore as against 278.88 crore in the previous year.

However, owing to fewer international matches at home (or inbound tours), BCCI earned only 193 crore from international tours, as against 216 crore in 2012-13. Its revenue from the gross media rights income has taken a substantial hit, earning the board only 419 crore, as against 774 crore in 2012-13.

The lack of a substantial income from media rights is reflected in the board’s expenditure, especially the amount it annually disburses to its state associations.

The grant has taken a major hit, by almost half. The board, as per its annual report, has released 252.04 crore to the associations, down from 501.79 crore from the previous fiscal year. BCCI gives an annual grant to its affiliated units to undertake cricketing activities.

Niranjan Shah, secretary of the Saurashtra Cricket Association, said it had received an annual grant of 18 crore, including 11 crore from media rights and the rest in the form of an IPL subsidy. “Our appeal to the... BCCI is that they must ensure that we play enough matches at home every year. I think a minimum of two home series is a must," Shah added.

BCCI also earned 120 crore through interest income, which increased by 45 crore ( 85 crore in 2012-13). The report says this is “because of better treasury operations in getting better-negotiated interest rates for the short term deposits and efficiency in operations".

However, BCCI spent marginally less on cricketing operations ( 516.83 crore), down by 34.34 crore. In the fiscal year of 2012-13, it spent 551.17 crore. Lower media rights income also meant that the gross revenue share payable to players went down drastically from 49 crore to a mere 11 crore.

BCCI also invoked the bank guarantee given by Sahara Adventure Sports Ltd (owners of the now defunct Pune Warriors India franchise) “to recover the balance franchise consideration of 133 crore". 

The board also awarded a prize money of 1 crore to every playing member of the team, and 30 lakh for non-playing staff, following their victorious campaign in the ICC Champions Trophy, held in England in June 2013.

For the fiscal year 2014-15, BCCI has estimated its budgeted surplus at 391 crore.

The annual report for the year 2013-14 was approved by BCCI in its much-delayed annual general meeting (AGM) in Chennai, held earlier in March. The AGM, which is traditionally held in the last week of September, was delayed owing to a petition in the Supreme Court, filed by Aditya Verma of the Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB), against its former president N. Srinivasan.

The petition was about Srinivasan’s right to continue as BCCI chief after his son-in-law was arrested for his alleged involvement in betting and match-fixing in IPL, and the conflict of interest evident in a BCCI president also owning an IPL team, the Chennai Super Kings.

The court eventually ruled that Srinivasan didn’t try to cover up his son-in-law’s involvement in betting, but prohibited him from contesting BCCI elections as long as he owned Chennai Super Kings. India Cements Ltd, the company controlled by Srinivasan, has since initiated efforts to spin off the team into a separate company.

Vidhi Choudhary contributed to this story.

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