Chris Nenzani: It is very unfair to think that the Mzansi Super League would make money in its second year. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – Cricket South Africa’s president Chris Nenzani expects the Mzansi Super League to start turning a profit by “year five or six,” which would be a major boon for the organisation’s coffers.

The inaugural edition of the MSL, that was held last year, is believed to have cost Cricket SA close to R90-million to run, a figure that could be matched this year as it once again will host the competition having failed to acquire rights for broadcasting. It is also still without a headline sponsor, although Nenzani said at the weekend, that an announcement on that front could be made soon.

“It is very unfair to think that the MSL would make money in its second year, the IPL took 10 years to be profitable. At worst, year five, year six, we will be making money,” said Nenzani.

Making the MSL profitable instead of a burden on CSA’s finances as is currently the case is essential. It means the organisation doesn’t have to rely on tours from the ‘Big three’; England, India and Australia, the only countries that make money as a result of broadcast deals for CSA.

At the federation’s Annual General Meeting held Saturday, the impact that those teams not touring here could be seen on CSA’s books. What was a profit of R350-million last year, following the incoming tours by India and Australia the previous summer, turned into a R200-million loss this year, following tours by Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The MSL expenses, added to those losses.

However, according to the chairman of CSA’s Finance committee, Mohammed Iqbal Khan, who is also an independent director, CSA’s cash reserves of R856-million leaves it in a reasonably healthy position, although as Khan pointed out the organisation was still following strict saving initiatives to ensure it didn’t dig too deeply into those reserves.

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The internal ‘Project 654’ initiative is aimed at alleviating the stress that the forecast loss of R654-million could have on the organisation. Khan said that as a result of cost cutting, the restructuring of the domestic circuit, a grant from the ICC and recalculations of dollar based deals as a result of the changing rand/dollar exchange rate, CSA’s forecast debt had in fact dropped to R120-million.

That restructuring of domestic cricket - which will see the system revert from the current six-team franchise system back to a 14-team provincial one - is expected to save CSA in the region of R70-million but is still subject of a bitter fight between CSA and the players union.

@shockerhess


The Star

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