When a sponsorship becomes golden handcuffs

Cricket is an expensive sport. A cricket equipment manufacturer typically budgets between R15,000 to R20,000 per year for an equipment sponsorship for an individual player.  (You can roughly double that number to get to the retail value of the equipment.)  An equipment sponsorship contract is a sought-after commodity.  When a young cricketer at the cusp of his career is offered an equipment sponsorship, he accepts it without asking too many questions. However, before the contract has run its course, the contract terms and reality often become irreconcilable. The following is a familiar sponsorship:  The young professional cricketer is a much better player now than when his equipment sponsorship contract was signed 18 months ago and as a result he is completely under-rewarded.  The sponsorship contract has become golden handcuffs.  What can the player do? He could ask the sponsor for a new deal, but tactically and practically it is not … Continue reading

The RAM SLAM T20 needs a better profile

The South African Ram Slam T20 starts next week when all six franchise teams will participate in the launch at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg. This is along the lines of the Discovery Knockout Challenge of years gone by that was the start of T20 cricket and the Finals Day in England. South Africa is the best Test team in world cricket and has made a big contribution to the global game including pioneering the T20 format. Unfortunately, the current Ram Slam T20’s profile in world cricket does not do justice to the history and success of the South African game. The IPL will always have the highest profile and be the richest T20 competition in the world. However, South Africa with Australia need to be the next best T20 competitions in world cricket. At the moment the Caribbean Premier League is also ahead of South Africa and that is … Continue reading

Will the Proteas finally triumph?

More than 20 years since South Africa’s re-admission into international cricket it still remains a mystery why the country has failed so miserably at cricket’s biggest showpiece, the World Cup. In little more than three months, the Proteas will for the seventh time embark on a World Cup campaign, hoping to achieve what no other South African team has come close to achieving. The eleventh edition of the Cricket World Cup takes place in Australia and New Zealand from 14 February to 29 March 2015. In the build-up the South Africans appear to have done at least two things right. Firstly, since the ODI series against Pakistan in the UAE in October/November last year, the Proteas’ ODI team selections have been consistent.  Apart from the odd combinations tweaking here and there and a few minor injuries, the core of the team has stayed the same.  It looks like the players … Continue reading

Is there a place for Champions’ League T20?

The Champions’ League T20 has been completed in India and once again the question arises does it warrant a place on the international schedule or is it congesting an already over loaded schedule? The CLT20 does create an opportunity for the domestic teams and players around the world to play in an international tournament. It also brings rich financial rewards to franchises and players who make it to India. However, it remains an Indian dominated competition with three Indian teams being guaranteed a place and a fourth team playing in the qualifiers. The aim is to have four Indian teams participating as the Indian market is the driver. It has been developed solely for Indian purposes and nothing else. The composition of the teams is heavily weighted in the favour of the Indians teams. They have access to all their foreign players of which four can be on the field, … Continue reading

Champions League curse continues

At the time of writing, the sixth edition of the IPL’s off-shoot, the Champions League T20 (CLT20), was into its knockout stage and again no South African team was there. The 2014 South African representatives, the Cobras and the Dolphins, continued the country’s atrocious CLT20 record by failing to get past the group stage.  In fact, they put up the worst performance ever by South African teams in the history of the competition – neither team won a single match! South Africa has always had two teams in the CLT20.  Because of our stake in the IPL, our teams do not have to qualify and go directly into the group stage.  At this stage each team plays four matches.  In total, South African teams have played 48 matches at the group stage of the CLT20.  The record reads as follows: • 2009]  Cobras:  won 3, lost 1. Knights:  won 2, lost … Continue reading

A decade of franchise cricket

It is now ten years since Cricket South Africa scrapped the provincial system and replaced it with the six franchise teams. The restructuring was a brave decision after the provincial system had served South African cricket so well for over a hundred years. Looking back after this period, has the franchise system served South African cricket as well as expected? With regards to producing players for the national team the franchise system has been a success. The Proteas have enjoyed a period of relative dominance in the Test arena and are currently the number one ranked Test team in world cricket. This is a position they have now occupied for a few years. Also, they enjoyed historic series’ wins in Australia and England on two occasions each. They have achieved more success than any other Test team in South Africa’s history. However, there is a school of thought that this … Continue reading

Sports retail suffering? Think again

Many of the world’s leading sports brands recently announced their annual results for the financial year ending June 2014. In a world that is still slowly recovering from the 2008/9 recession, it is remarkable to see how many of the well-known sports brands increased their revenue and sales (although not always profits) over the period July 2013 to June 2014.  Sports goods are not cheap but it wouldn’t appear to put off consumers. It could of course be argued that a lot of the growth in global revenue and sales is driven by marketing campaigns around major sport events, and to a degree that is true.  The FIFA World Cup in Brazil earlier this year, as well as the cricket and rugby World Cups looming in 2015, necessitate mega-promotions around the world. Nevertheless, the results are generally speaking not what one would have expected. Here are some of the notable … Continue reading

Looking forward to the 2015 World Cup

South Africa has started their Cricket World Cup preparations in Zimbabwe and there have been some encouraging signs. As expected, they easily defeated Zimbabwe in the three match ODI series and won the Triangular with Australia. Of the eight matches they won seven and beat Australia twice. The Proteas now have ODI tours to Australia where they play five matches and to New Zealand, where they play three matches, in preparation for the Australasia World Cup in February and March 2015. They then conclude their preparations with five ODI’S against the West Indies in South Africa. The South African team that leaves for the 2015 World Cup will have been better prepared than any of their six predecessors that have  participated since the country’s first World Cup in 1992. Cricket South Africa and the team management must be congratulated on leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the Proteas have their best … Continue reading

Understanding your professional contract

When sportsmen misbehave or throw their toys out the cot (think Luis Suarez, Frans Steyn or Herschelle Gibbs), people are usually quick to say their employers should sort them out just like you would for any other employee.  This, however, is only partially true as a professional sports employment contract is not always as legally binding as one would expect of a contract. A professional contract doesn’t allow the sportsman to willy-nilly disregard its content, but it is very important that the sportsman knows it is different from a “normal” employment contract and that the context in which it operates makes it a kind of its own. A conventional contract of employment consists of two parties, the employer and employee.  It can loosely be described as a mutual agreement in terms of which the employee for a specific period and remuneration places his services under the authority of an employer.  … Continue reading

International cricket and the T20 game

There is a concern developing amongst the cricket administrators that the T20 game around the world will have a detrimental effect on international cricket as we know it. There is more and more talk of players becoming free agents and only playing T20 cricket. In a recent survey done by FICA only fifty percent of professional cricketers’ ambition is to play for their country. In years gone by this was a hundred percent. In reality does the T20 game really hold these threats for international cricket? The only T20 tournament that is rich is the Indian Premier League. The Big Bash League in Australia is the next richest and then the Caribbean Premier League, but neither can compare with the IPL. In England and New Zealand they have scrapped their tournaments and now play a league. Sri Lanka has for the time being shelved any ideas of a T20 tournament … Continue reading