‘We won’t sell the game short’: ECB chairman Richard Thompson vows not to accept low-ball offers for The Hundred… noting that just one IPL franchise cost almost a billion dollars!
- ECB chairman Richard Thompson says The Hundred will cost big money if sold
- He compares the benchmark to the $930m paid out for just one IPL franchise
- Thompson is at the first Test in Rawalpindi to meet his Pakistani counterparts
ECB chairman Richard Thompson has insisted that the benchmark for any sale of The Hundred should be the $930 million paid for IPL franchise Lucknow Super Giants.
Thompson said claims that London buyout company Bridgepoint Group had offered £400m for 75% of the Hundred, now two years old, were misleading. And he admitted the board would ‘need to think very long and hard if we were to sell four or five weeks of the English summer to a third party’.
But with cricket broadcast rights undergoing what Thompson described as a ‘feeding frenzy’, he was open to the possibility of an injection of private cash into the English game.
ECB chairman Richard Thompson has vowed not to accept low offers if they sell The Hundred
‘I’m determined we’re not going to be opportunistic about this, we’re going to be strategic,’ he said. ‘The tournament’s only two years old. Clearly there’s a value in it, and we expected there to be interest.
‘We won’t sell the game short. Lucknow Super Giants, one team in the IPL, sold for nearly a billion. One team! That should establish a benchmark of value.
‘To sell the summer would need to be an extraordinary amount of money. If the IPL is worth a billion, we’d need quite a few billion to sell the summer.’
The ECB are understandably excited by the interest their 100-ball tournament has created, with Thompson himself and the new chief executive Richard Gould both converts to its benefits, having been sceptics during their time together at Surrey.
‘We’ll continue to talk to the county chairs about this, and if there was an absolute game-changing offer that would wipe out the debts of English cricket, of course we would look at it.’
But Thompson, who is in Pakistan to attend the first Test in Rawalpindi and meet his counterparts at the PCB, acknowledged that the Hundred had also presented challenges.
Thompson and new ECB chief executive Richard Gould are in Pakistan for the Rawalpindi Test
‘We need to find a way of working with four competitions, where the Hundred doesn’t succeed at the expense of the Blast, and they can co-exist,’ he said.
‘That’s going to take some doing, but we’ve got to find a way, because the Hundred is here to stay. We’ve signed that deal to 2028, and people are making offers. It’s creating an impact in two years that we didn’t expect to happen, but it’s also created some challenge and stress as well.’