QUESTIONS: Players union official Simon Katich wants a probe into the reported $33 million losses in the Big Bash League's first five years.
QUESTIONS: Players union official Simon Katich wants a probe into the reported $33 million losses in the Big Bash League's first five years. DAN HIMBRECHTS

Players push for probe into Big Bash's $33m loss

THE Australian Cricketers Association has called for an independent investigation after the Herald Sun reported the Big Bash had made a $33 million loss over the first five years of competition.

Despite being a runaway hit, the Twenty20 competition needed massive upfront investment from Cricket Australia and suffered from underselling its initial TV deal as the BBL tried to make its mark on the Australian summer.

The massive loss was a result of CA spending $187 million to put on the BBL over the first five seasons, yet returns were just $154 million.

A potential tripling of the current $20 million a year TV deal, with broadcast rights up for grabs after this season and highly sought after, could help recoup some of those losses.

But the ACA, which has made capping CA expenditure on management costs an element of its proposal for a new Memorandum of Understanding, wants the BBL loss investigated.

"This is either an MOU negotiating tactic or a serious case of mismanagement,” former Test opener and ACA player liaison manager Simon Katich said.

"Either way, the public and the players need answers.

"The claims that CA has managed to lose money on the biggest success story in world cricket must be independently investigated.

"Record crowds, record ratings, record sponsorships and merchandising sales each and every year, yet CA are claiming a loss.

"It defies logic and good business sense.”

The ACA has received independent financial predictions which suggest CA could reap more than $2.5 billion in revenue over the next five years.

The union and CA are in a pitched battle over the best way to spend that money on players, grassroots, game investment and management costs.

Katich questioned whether an overspend on management was at play in the BBL loss.

"Is it drained by too much bureaucracy, executive salaries, entitlements and bonuses?” he asked.

"One thing is for sure, it's not drained by either the players or grassroots investments, which together account for less than 30 cents in the dollar.

"I have called for a cap on CA administrative costs before and this is more evidence of the need for that.

"And it is also now clear evidence of the need for an independent investigation.”

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