Money Street News
  • Please enable News ticker from the theme option Panel to display Post

English cricket has been warned that its current plan for selling equity in the Hundred is putting off top investors, including Indian Premier League franchises, and risks failing to maximise a one-off financial opportunity.

‌The England and Wales Cricket Board is in the final stage of consultation with the 18 first-class counties and MCC (the proprietors of Lord’s) as it prepares to open up the eight Hundred teams for private investment later this year. The ambitious target is to have the Hundred up and running with private investment for the 2025 edition of the men’s and women’s tournaments.

‌The ECB is confident that it has a stellar list of interested investors from all over the world, including Indian Premier League owners, and businesses from Pakistan, the United States and beyond, as well as sovereign wealth funds.

‌Telegraph Sport sources have indicated, however, that the terms on offer do not suit top investors, including those attached to IPL teams, because they want total control and fear future expansion of the competition.

‌The ECB, under the leadership of chief executive Richard Gould and chairman Richard Thompson, long-time critics of the Hundred while in the same posts at Surrey, has established a “broad direction of travel” for the tournament that counties are currently providing final feedback on and is subject to change.

‌The ECB’s plan comes in two parts. The first would see new joint-ventures (being called NewCo’s) set up between the ECB and each of the 18 first-class and MCC for teams at their venue.

‌Half of the team would be owned by the ECB and the other by the host county. The two parties would agree on a percentage of the team that would be taken to market (there would be a minimum sale in place of, for instance, 25 per cent). 

Under this model, it could be that some teams are selling a 75 per cent share, and others are selling just a quarter share. Either way, the proceeds of the investment would be split between the host county and the ECB, with the latter share being distributed through the game.

‌The second part would see the eight current Hundred teams play in a top tier until 2028 with “other options available for all other NewCo’s”. What those options would be is as yet unclear. From 2029 – but perhaps earlier – teams from other venues could join the top tier, but any expansion would be down to criteria agreed this year.

The NewCos, including their investors, would run their Hundred team’s ticketing, marketing and branding, with the ECB running the competition itself. Insiders believe that while the competition could expand to 10 teams in 2029, many more than that is increasingly unlikely. Criteria for expansion is to be agreed later this year.

‌These terms are said to be putting off top investors because they want a majority stake and control of the franchise, not a minority part or to be sharing with a county. They also fear that future expansion of the competition – and possible promotion and relegation, which they are not interested in – is not yet totally off the table.

‌One source with knowledge of IPL owners’ investment plans described them as keen in general, but “underwhelmed” by the finer points of the ECB’s plans. Another added that the plans would “suppress” value, while a third said, “The ECB will only have one opportunity to sell the competition, which could be a financial game-changer. They have to get it right”.

‌Andrew Umbers, a partner at Oakwell Sports Advisory, and sports administrator who was once chairman at Leeds United, commended the ECB for its collaborative approach, but feared “unintended consequences”.

‌“Investors want, in a perfect world, majority equity ownerships of franchises, be they Hundred franchises, other franchises or first-class counties,” Umbers told Telegraph Sport. “They are not interested in minority positions without a route to control.

‌“More franchises in the Hundred does not necessarily lead to an increase in broadcasting or sponsorship value at the league level.

‌“The ECB are doing their best and a good job at consulting with FCCCs, to try to satisfy all stakeholders with the right solution. “The unintended consequence, though, is that minority stakes are not valued at similar levels to majority ones.”

‌An alternative option, rather than joint-ventures with counties, would be for the ECB to sell an agreed stake in each team, with the proceeds spread equally across the game. The eight Hundred venues could then receive substantial hosting fees, while the teams run ticketing and marketing themselves.

‌The ECB hopes the model it has drawn up connects the counties and the Hundred, and keeps purpose among counties that do not currently host a team to strive to have one in future.

‌The potential value of the sale of the competition was clear from Telegraph Sport’s revelation last week that the ECB had not pursued a proposal from Lalit Modi, the founder of the IPL, who values the tournament at $1 billion (£790 million). 

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Get our latest downloads and information first. Complete the form below to subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

No, thank you. I do not want.
100% secure your website.