JAMAICAN businessman Chris Dehring is worried over the financial future of Cricket West Indies (CWI), in light of the impending economic struggles caused by the global coronavirus pandemic.
Dehring, who was the CEO of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 (which took place in the West Indies), was speaking on the Barbados-based Mason and Guest radio show on Tuesday.
Dehring said, “I don’t know the details of Cricket West Indies’ financial structure now. They have accumulated debt. They are dependent on television rights and everything looks good on paper if you’ve signed television rights agreement.”
Alluding to the tour of England, which is scheduled for June (but is in doubt due to the covid19 pandemic), Dehring mentioned, “If that series does not get played, what happens? We’re about to see a true test of many of the insurance policies that several people have taken out, over the years, on the protection of television rights. It’s going to be an interesting and challenging scenario, even for Cricket West Indies.”
Dehring is currently the CEO of ReadyTV and is also one of the founders of another Jamaica-based media outlet, SportsMax.
He is worried about the CWI’s lack of monetary reserves, as major television companies face the reality of financial shortfalls.
“There is a strong chance that the world economy is not going to recover for the next 12-18 months,” Dehring said. “If there (is a) global pandemic that has impacted the global economy, that causes that revenue to be diminished significantly. We know the stations are dependent on subscription revenues, advertising and so on to generate back the money to pay for that. We know of companies that are slashing economic budgets.
“Olympic Games (and) English Premier League television rights are under pressure,” he continued. “Even Cricket West Indies will come under lots of stress and strain. I can’t see how they’ll escape that. The Boards of England, Australia and India (will) have reserves. That’s the benefits of having massive prior years television rights signings.”
Last week, Chief Operations Officer (COO) of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), Pete Russell, mentioned that this year’s CPL may take place without overseas players or in a “social-distancing stadium” in Barbados.
“It’s a scenario where you’re still not in control of everything, which is a very uncomfortable prospect for any event organisers,” Dehring noted. “The fact that they’re also talking about being without any international players, is that event going to be attractive enough for the international rights people, and (if) the crowds will make it financially feasible? I don’t even know if the CPL has broken even yet, before the covid19.”