Cricket Australia calls in BCG to help negotiate IPL threat

16 October 2023 3 min. read
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Continuing its long-running relationship, Boston Consulting Group has been called in by Cricket Australia for a wide-ranging strategic review as the IPL threatens to further up-end the sport.

Cricket Australia has once again brought in global strategy firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG) to help guide it through another period of instability, according to Code Sports.

The online publication reports that BCG will look into the structure of Australian cricket and resource sharing between its state associations, with the review to be performed against the backdrop of growing franchise power and the sport’s potential short-form debut at the 2028 Olympics.

Cricket Australia calls in BCG to help negotiate IPL threat

As HCLTech continues to support CA’s digital transformation initiatives for external stakeholders, BCG will be digging into the sporting body’s set up ahead of what looms as a transformational period for the sport, in which IPL clubs are moving to sign players on lucrative extended contracts to flesh out their satellite teams in the growing number of international franchise leagues. Such a move could threaten control over elite cricketers at the national level.

Cricket Australia and BCG have a long-running association. Just two years ago, the consultancy examined the administrator’s financials as part of a new, post-pandemic strategic roadmap which warned of a potential three-year $90 million funding shortfall, with partial privatisation floated as one potential remedy. Cricket Australia continues to weigh up that option, appointing Morgan Stanley as corporate finance advisor at the beginning of the year.

Despite questions as to Australian cricket’s sustainability in its current form, the concept of selling off a chunk of the national sport to private investors would be highly unpalatable to large sections of the local community, and likely feed into a growing narrative of BCG waltzing in as a US consultancy and pushing for the privatisation of cherished public assets. The firm, however, has been advising Cricket Australia for well over a decade.

Indeed, while more commonly associated with Aussie rules football, founding BCG partner Colin Carter was instrumental in the reformation of the cricket administrator’s governance model in 2011. Dating back even further, the firm was an instigator of the Australia-backed World Test Championship proposal (the formula credited to senior BCG partner and global sports co-leader Rohan Sajde), which was ultimately adopted in an effort to combat the IPL.

The Code Sports report also noted BCG had been tasked with exploring fresh commercial opportunities as part of its latest wide-ranging review, although no further detail was given.

Previously, Cricket Australia had engaged international sports marketing and consulting firm Octagon to advise on North American media rights – a market that may now come into sharper strategic focus if the recommended inclusion of T20 at the 2028 LA Olympics gets voted through in the coming days.