Cricket Australia (CA) has hit back at statements made by the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) on the financial performance of the Big Bash League (BBL).
ACA Player Liaison Manager Simon Katich called for an urgent independent investigation into the BBL’s finances after the governing body claimed a $33 million deficit over the first five years of the competition.
The discussion comes amid a deadlock on the Memorandum of Understanding negotiations between CA and ACA, with the current deal due to expire at the end of the month, with a new agreement appearing a long way off.
Katich said the reported $33m shortfall was either a negotiating tactic or mismanagement of the BBL, which has been perceived as a major success.
In response, CA wrote: “As the ACA is well aware, the success of the BBL is not based on money alone, it was set up to increase our fan base and attract more people around Australia to pick up a bat and ball and play cricket. It is why we have kept the same entry-level ticket prices of $20 for adults and $5 for children for six seasons.
“The Summer of Big Bash, now including the Women’s BBL, is a remarkable success for bringing more and more fans and families to the game, but it has cost money, as every start-up business does in its early years.
"The ACA has been aware of the BBL’s financial position for six months – it was detailed in CA’s initial submission in December on a new five-year collective agreement for the players – and the ACA has not raised the issue. In addition, ACA’s auditors review CA’s finances on a regular basis.
“It is extraordinary for the ACA to suggest that the game has been mismanaged by Cricket Australia, considering players have benefited from the success and growth of the game for the past two decades. CA’s success in running the game has resulted in 63 per cent pay rises for international men and 53 per cent for domestic men over just the past five years.
“Their criticism suggests they still do not understand that it takes 71 per cent of cricket’s total investment to run elite cricket.
“It also demonstrates why the current fixed-percentage model is hurting cricket, when the players are guaranteed a quarter of revenue regardless of the costs associated with putting on the game.”