Where exactly do cricket leagues stand in front of football leagues

Even the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL), the most extravagant Twenty20 league in the world doesn't come close to matching the financial prowess of the football teams.

AB de Villiers
South Africa’s AB de Villiers. (Photo by PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP/Getty Images)

In the wake of Neymar’s 222 million euros transfer to PSG from Barcelona, one wonders if cricket leagues will ever involve such ridiculous amounts. Even the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL), the most extravagant Twenty20 league in the world doesn’t come close to matching the financial prowess of the football teams. This is how IPL and other cricket leagues stand in front of football leagues.

The question how far are the cricket teams able to match-up Football clubs. Though one sport has a global reach while the other is attempting to find a foot and expand the reach, cricket is one of the most popular team sports and has the status of a religion in the countries that diligently follow it. Here is how IPL and other cricket leagues stand in front of football leagues.

1. Difference in the TV rights deal

Last media rights of the IPL was sold for 6700 crores rupees for a 10-year period. Big Bash League has sold its media rights for 20 million dollars per year. These amounts seem minuscule if we compare them with football leagues. EPL’s tv rights were sold for a whopping 55000 crores per year.

There are many factors to be considered while discussing these numbers. IPL came into existence just 10 years ago while these football leagues have been there for more than a century. This allowed the clubs to make a loyal fan base, which helps them in terms of value.

2. Popularity among the fans

Just consider the fact that top clubs like Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, and few others always have thousands of people on the waiting list for the season tickets. Even pre-season friendlies attract full houses, even when played in countries like USA and China.

Compare this with the IPL, where we see empty stands for the most part of the group stage and for teams that aren’t doing well. The situation is worse in other newly formed leagues like BBL, CPL, PSL where matches are played in front of empty stands mostly.

3. Difference in wages

England all-rounder Ben Stokes, was the highest paid player this year. But how does his salary compare to the top stars in the football leagues? Stokes got 1.8 million euros for one season, which is peanuts if you compare this with what the footballers earn.

Neymar reportedly got 78 million euros from PSG, just for agreeing to join. He also signed 30 million euros per year deal on a 6-year contract, which means he would effectively earn 43 million euros per year which is close to 25 times what Stokes managed.

4. Level of competition

In cricket leagues, there is a budget cap, which in turn doesn’t allow wealthy owners to make their team excessively strong with the power of money and kill the competition. In football you expect teams like Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, and other European giants to win most of the games.

While in cricket leagues we have often seen bottom teams punching above their weights and upsetting the heavyweights. For example, RCB a team full of heavyweights that was touted as the favourite for the title faltered badly and finished last. Can anyone imagine Real Madrid finishing last in La Liga?

5. No relegation and promotion system

Only certain number of teams go through to the playoffs in cricket. After a certain number of matches, it is clear that some teams won’t go through to the next round. Due to this, a few players of those teams go flat and just go through the motions for the rest of the season.

This year after the first half of the tournament it was quite clear that RCB won’t qualify. After that, we saw no semblance of a fight from them as they had nothing to fight for. Compare this with football where teams in the bottom half show more fight than the top teams in the latter half of the season. The reason is that they are fighting to save their spot in the league. Therefore there is a need to bring promotion and relegation system.

6. Transfer system

Football has two transfer windows one in the off season and one in the middle of the season. This keeps the crowd excited even in the off season because they want to see the new faces in their favourite teams. It allows teams to strengthen a particular department where they are falling short and it is fun to see franchises try to get the best players of the other teams.

In the IPL there is a transfer window but in that only released players can be snapped up rather than teams getting the star players they aim for. The problem with the transfer window is that it only helps strong and rich owners, as they can easily take players from weaker teams attracting them with money and more chances of winning the trophy.