In an interesting development in the continued commercialisation of cricket, the reigning IPL Champions, the Rajasthan Royals are looking to "globalise" their franchise. They've stated their intent to sell shares in the franchise in an effort to raise some cash to take the Royals worldwide, and their focus appears to be on South Africa and Australia, presumably to get a piece of the Southern Hemisphere Twenty20 competition action.
Thursday, 13 November 2008
Sounds like a reasonable idea to me, cricket is big money business these days, and as far as cricketing businesses go, the Royals have made a pretty good fist of it, they made a profit in their first year in the IPL, the only team outside of the insanely marketed Kolkata Knight Riders whose Bollywood star owner Shahruhk Khan pretty much whored himself out day and night to promote his team, and they were smart enough to get an IPL franchise at a bargain.
So, are we going to see the Royals setup shop in the Southern Hemisphere Comp? Will they setup Warnie with his own team, the Victorian Royals and just extend the contracts of his players to cover this comp - will we effectively see stars like Warne tour the world playing in all the lucrative Twenty20 comps under the Royals brand? I could see that working, and working well.
Of course, there would be all sorts of confusion when it comes time for the Champions League. What happens when the semi finals consist of the Rajasthan Royals versus Victorian Royals on one side, and the Middlesex Royals are taking on the KwaZulu-Natal Royals in the other? Could get awkward!
Finally, I wonder what other worldwide global franchise would like to diversify into cricket and cash in on this booming sporting frontier? Will we see the Sydney Galaxy or perhaps the Auckland Yankees in the near future?