Cricket West Indies has always been up to date with its payment of the salaries of cricketers to the six franchises in the region. But there have been financial challenges in running cricket tournaments throughout the region, says chief executive officer Johnny Grave.
“We have been very open and honest about the financial difficulties we had in 2018 with the Sri Lanka and Bangladesh tours, where our media rights value went all the way down to under US$1 million, causing us enormous challenges in terms of running all of our cricket tours and tournaments throughout the region. We were able to manage our tournaments thanks largely to the support we got from our territorial boards in terms of delay and postponing payments to them.
“In terms of our payment to franchises for the salaries of players they were delivered every single month. We have been late a few days on a couple of occasions in the last 12 months but our payments to franchise for the wages of cricketers have always been up to date,” Grave told Barbados TODAY in an interview.
He disclosed that Cricket West Indies pays the franchises a minimum of $US45, 000 each month, with US$27 500 going towards the players who are on retainer contracts and the remaining money going towards the franchises operational costs.
“On top of that, we have additional payments which are performance related in terms of production fees, IPL and other release fees paid to us by the various Twenty20 leagues which we share with the territorial boards. The boards also receive development money from us and we contribute to the match costs they encounter when they host West Indies championship matches on our behalf,” the CEO said.
Grave said while the franchises were expected to generate their own funds, in his assessment they were not successful so far.
“They are working in challenging economic times, but a number of teams have managed to secure shirts sponsors in the Super50 and West Indies Championship. We are however asking the franchises to do more, and reach out to the sponsors and commercial organizations within their territories to seek support, not just for the franchise teams that play in the Super50 and West Indies championships, but also for their regional teams that take part in our regional competitions from Under -15 through to Under- 19,” Grave said.
He stated that England’s tour to the West Indies earlier this year was extremely successful on the field and financially.
“On the field, we won back the Wisden Trophy, drew the ODI Series and unfortunately we lost the Twenty20 series. Financially, the tour met our expectations. We generated millions of dollars in tickets sales. It was well supported by the governments of the islands that hosted the matches. We were delighted at the number of British fans who supported the tour. There was an expectation that with exchange rate fluctuations between pound and the US dollar and uncertainty created by the economy in the United Kingdom and Brexit, that maybe the numbers would be significantly low.
“But we were happy with the number of travelling fans that came to the West Indies for the matches. We were also elated with the viewing figures of the fans throughout the world. So it was a very successful England tour. We are also confident that we will have a very successful India tour to the region. If we achieve our goal, 2019 will be a record year financially for Cricket West Indies,” Grave said. Cricket West Indies is expected to gain significantly from television rights for the series.
Grave disclosed that Cricket West Indies had a very positive meeting with the Dr Askhai Mansingh, the dean of the Faculty of Sports of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Amanda Reifer, the head of the Faculty of Sports at the Cave Hill Campus and former West Indies batsman Darren Ganga whose foundation last year launched the Darren Ganga Cricket Academy at the St Augustine Campus of the UWI in Trinidad.
“We had a really positive meeting with them, not just surrounding the High Performance Programme but also in relation to coach education and other initiatives. We have launched our level two coaching course which is going to be delivered in partnership with the UWI. This is a very important part of our strategic plan to make sure we have Caribbean cricket coaching courses delivered by Caribbean coaches in partnership with a tertiary organization in the region rather than relying on either an English or Australian institution like we did in the past,” Grave said.