Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Cricket: When you are too greedy...

BCCI is an example of how you will suffer when you are too greedy. Also, when your approach is not to build partnerships but opportunistic deal making and screwing the 'opponent'.

Jagmohan Dalmiya was a deal maker. He will care the least about the telecast partner or sponsor. He will not work out the nitty gritties. He will talk in terms of the larger number and leave the rest to sponsors and telecasters, who invariably suffer in the end.

Lalit Modi, who replaced Dalmiya as the main negotiator for BCCI is just as arrogant. As long as Dalmiya was in BCCI - irrespective of whether he is the Secretary or President or Treasurer or whatever - he will discuss all the commercial deals. Modi is the equivalent. He is one of the several vice-presidents of BCCI and is entrusted with the television negotiations.

His dealing was downright harsh and Zee (after winning the overseas bid) even complained against Modi's behaviour.

With India's showing in World Cup downright pathetic and Indian Government's legislation on sharing TV feeds with Doordarshan on top, all of BCCI's partners are in trouble - which means BCCI is in trouble.

Nimbus has been renegotiating with BCCI and there seems to be some agreement with them on reducing their $612 million, 4-year rights deal. Zee, in the meantime, desperate for cricket, had talked about a separate professional league. Now, Zee has announced that it is cancelling a deal with BCCI for telecasting overseas cricket matches organized by BCCI.

When cricket is played in any of the full member countries, the host controls the television rights. If International cricket has to be played in any of the associate or affiliate member countries, the respective cricket association in that country has to stage the matches and will, in turn, own the telecast and other rights.

IMG/TWI exploited this later concept and organized matches in Toronto. Canadian Cricket Association was the organizer namesake. IMG/TWI did everything and pocketed a neat profit and paid small monies to Canadian Cricket Association. Sharjah (UAE Cricket Association) was WorldTel's property, but later became Bukhatir's Taj Television's.

BCCI hit upon this wonderful idea of cutting out the middlemen, and become the event organizer abroad to maximise its revenues. Alas, the team's poor performance, greedy and mindless deal have all come together to roost now.

BCCI can survive only by hiring sensible corporate managers who are also kind and decent and build a sustainable business and not be corporate thugs, who bully bidders into submission. Because, when you fall - as in cricket you always fall - you won't have any friends left. Like it is now for BCCI.