The meteoric rise in popularity of cricket across the world can be attributed to Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI). It is the highest profit earner among all the cricketing boards in the world. India is today the commercial centre of gravity of the game and accounts for close to 80% of the game’s revenue.
BCCI is self-sufficient and it doesn’t even depend on the Indian Government for funds. Even though International cricket council is the main regulating body in cricket it often seen how all decisions or reforms have to get BCCI’s approval. We have seen many instances where reforms suggested by ICC like the UDRS, WADA failed to get inducted because BCCI did not approve of it. So let’s have a look of how BCCI became the strongest cricket and the most powerful cricket body in the world.
- India was not really the cricket-mad nation before. In 1926, India decided to join the Imperial Cricket Conference, an organization of cricket playing nations. The team was just a bunch of Indians who used to serve for the British.
- The BCCI was registered under the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act in 1928.
- India played its first international match in 1932 against England which they lost. Post-independence, India did win some series’ overseas but that was not enough to bring the popularity to the Indian cricket or to BCCI.
- The turning point in Indian cricket and most specifically for BCCI came during the 1983 World Cup in England which India won. Indian players became stars overnight and BCCI was able to rake in huge amounts of money subsequently.
- Another milestone in BCCI’s came when it sold off the television rights to a private broadcaster in 1993. 1993 was a time when Indian team was making waves across the world with its fearless and attractive way of cricket. It had likes of Mohammad Azharuddin and youngsters like Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble playing for the team.
- 1996 was a crucial year for BCCI as it jointly hosted the 1996 cricket World Cup. There was frenzy among the brands to sponsor the Indian team and many brands like Pepsi, Coca Cola were able to make in-roads in to the country on account of their association with BCCI.
- ICC never had a chairman from the Asian countries and this caused displeasure among the Asian teams like India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Sri Lanka in particular expressed anger when the matches which were scheduled to be played in Sri Lanka in 1996 World cup were cancelled and this played a vital role in India’s Jagmohan Dalmiya taking over the reins of the ICC.
- Jagmohan Dalmiya’s elevation to the top post in ICC after the 1996 World Cup came as a boon for Indian cricket and BCCI in particular literally minted money.
- By the turn of millennium, BCCI was fast taking steps towards becoming the strongest body in the World and its cause was supported by a phenomenal Indian team. BCCI started opposing the ICC’s dictatorial way of functioning and openly started to flout the rules and regulations laid down by the ICC.
- Suddenly after 2000, cricket became a career choice of Indian youth. It was a high-paying sport and BCCI made sure that even the players playing in the domestic tournaments weren’t deprived of either money of facilities.
- Indian cricket scenario underwent a major upgrade with the advent of IPL in 2008. It opened the doors for Industrialists, businessmen and Bollywood personalities to own a team of their own. IPL was a run-away hit among the critics and fans alike and this got millions of money to BCCI. It also led to more and more youngsters to take up cricket.
- It sold the television rights to Star sports for a whopping Rs.3, 851 crores for the tournaments to be held in India and Zee TeleFilms acquired the rights for tournaments that India plays abroad for around US$
- As of 2011, BCCI is the world’s richest cricket board and India’s strongest cricketing body.
- As of 2016, BCCI’s net worth has surpassed Rs.5 billion crores.
There have often seen how the other cricketing boards in the world criticize BCCI for acting like a dictator. But even these boards realize that without BCCI cricket wouldn’t really be a lucrative sport that it has become now.