In Cricket – Champions League Cricket
Champions League Cricket also called the Champions League T20, is an annual cricket game similar to IPL. It began in the same year of IPL-2008; the last season played was in 2014. The league game is played between top domestic teams and nations. The tournament began in 2008, with the inaugural edition in October month of that year. The league was jointly owned by the Australian cricket board, BCCI, and Cricket South Africa. It was led by N. Srinivasan, the International Cricket Council (ICC) chairman; Sundar Raman served as the CLT20’s and IPL’s Chief Operating Officer (COO). The Chennai Super Kings, who won their second title in 2014, are the most recent winners. Due to a lack of enthusiasm among fans and advertisers, the league couldn’t go beyond 2014. 63 players captained their teams in at least one match during editions from 2008 to 2014.
MS Dhoni has the most match experience as a captain during the Champions League Cricket, leading the Chennai Super Kings to a 63.04 win-loss record in 23 games. Daren Ganga of Trinidad and Tobago had the top win-loss percentage among those who captained in more than 10 matches: 79.16. Brad Haddin representing Sydney Thunder, had the chance to be a captain in many matches and enjoy 100 percent victory during the season.
The event was conducted in India or South Africa between September and October, continued for two to three weeks. It featured a total prize pool of US$6 million, with the victorious team taking home $2.5 million, the most significant reward fund ever for a club cricket competition. The format included the top teams from eight Test-playing nations’ main Twenty20 championships, with India, Australia, and South Africa favored.
The three founding boards of cricket declared on 15 July 2015 that the event would be terminated due to low viewership, lack of public engagement, unstable sponsorships, and other considerations. The 2014 Champions League Twenty20 was the final edition played.
The Backstory of Champions League Cricket
Champions League Cricket T20 was originally launched in 2003 by England and Wales Cricket Board. The concept was created to attract a younger audience and increase attendance by reducing matches to roughly three hours. Domestic Twenty20 events began to emerge as cricketing nations adopted the concept.
The establishment of international Twenty20 events followed with the domestic T20. An early effort at an international Twenty20 club event was the International 20:20 Club Championship, and it took place in 2005, included three domestic Twenty20 teams from three different nations. The ICC World Twenty20, the Twenty20 equivalent of the Cricket World Cup, was first contested in September 2007, while the Twenty20 International, a variant of Twenty20 played between national cricket teams, debuted in February 2005.
Domestic Twenty20 tournaments began in 2003, having England’s Twenty20 Cup. Most of the cricketing nations have established their domestic Twenty20 leagues in 2006.
Every T20 tournament followed the same format as the existing first-class and Listed A cricket counterparts, with the majority even fielding the same teams. The Indian Premier League (IPL) began in 2008 and has garnered an unprecedented fan base compared to the Champions League Cricket. The IPL has great players and coaches from across the globe, as well as a franchise structure in which the eight teams were auctioned for a total of $723 million, with some of the teams owned by Bollywood celebrities; devoted fan support, and significant sponsorship.
On September 13, 2007, the plan to inaugurate Champions League Twenty20 was originally unveiled. The first edition was scheduled for October 2008, and it would be hosted by the cricket boards of India, Australia, England, and South Africa, with two teams from each country competing.
The event, however, ran into difficulties when BCCI, which has a 50% stake, decided to exclude players from the Indian Cricket League ICL.
The Impact of Champions League Cricket
The league received good support right from its inaugural match. The organizers advertised the prize pool of $6 million as “the single greatest reward pool in any cricket competition to date. For the next ten years, ESPN Star Sports invested $900 million for the global television rights to every match.
Unfortunately, the first edition, held in India in 2009, was not well accepted by the Indian public, who were mainly interested in the IPL teams. Low attendance and television ratings were evidence of this. According to TAM Media Research, it earned an average television rating score of 1.06, significantly lower than the 4.1 obtained by the Indian Premier League. After two years, Bharti Airtel’s five-year sponsorship arrangement was terminated due to below-average viewership.
Format of the Game
One of the unique aspects of Champions League Cricket was that each tournament has different formats and teams. In 2011, a qualification round was added, limiting direct entries to teams from India, South Africa, and Australia. A $500 000 participation fee is paid to each team (including qualifying stage players). The entire prize pool for each tournament was $6 million. However, since 2010, the prize money has been distributed in different forms like-
- $2.5 million – Winners
- $1.3 million – Runners-up
- $500,000 – 2nd and 3rd Runners-up
- $200,000 – Teams eliminated in the group stage
Venue for CLC T20
The tournament’s host country was supposed to be alternated between the three different countries: India, South Africa, and Australia. According to the broadcasting deal, five of the first 10 editions must be hosted in India. On the other hand, Australia is yet to be considered owing to its unfavorable weather in September and its inconvenient time zone for the broadcaster. South Africa hosted the event for the first time in 2010, but India has since become the top choice for hosting. When circumstances rendered it impossible for India to host in 2012, South Africa was picked to host.
Some of the Participating Teams in CLC T20
- Chennai Super Kings (2010-2014)
- Mumbai Indians (2010-2014)
- Sydney Sixers (2012)
- New South Wales Blues (2010-11)
- Kolkata Knight Riders (2011-2014)
- Rajasthan Royals (2013)
- Hyderabad Royals (2010-2013)
- Highveld Lions (2010-2013)
- Royal Challengers Bangalore (2010-11)
- Warriors (2010-11)
- Trinidad and Tobago (2009-2013)
- Hobart Hurricanes (2014)
- Kings XI Punjab (2014)
- Delhi Capitals (2009-12)
- Titans (2012-13)
- Somerset (2009-2011)
- Southern Redbacks (2010-11)
Despite good media coverage, team, and prize money, the Champions Cricket League didn’t work post-2014. The participation of new teams, with only a few matches in a season generating substantial attention, was assumed to explain the low-interest reception. With the IPL running every year and the international calendar in place, even a separate September window wouldn’t be able to alleviate the overabundance of cricket after a certain point.
The tournament’s commercial success decreased as attention waned. The inaugural title sponsor, Bharti Airtel, signed a five-year pact but left after two years in 2011, leaving ESPN Star Sports, the broadcasting partners who spent $1 billion for a 10-year window, scrambling to find new title sponsors. The Champions League T20 was not taken forward in July 2015, barely a day after the Indian Supreme Court’s ruling on the IPL betting and spot-fixing case led to the suspension of two IPL clubs. The 2015 version, which was set to take place in September and October, was canceled.