Sri Lanka cricket will be left behind warns Ten Sports CEO | Daily News

Sri Lanka cricket will be left behind warns Ten Sports CEO

Rajesh Sethi, CEO of Ten Sports Taj Television India.


Sri Lanka cricket will get left behind unless the corporate sector steps in and starts investing money to help develop the domestic structure warned the Chief Executive Officer of Ten Sports Taj Television India Rajesh Sethi.

"The corporate have a role to play you cannot expect the government to step in all the time. The corporate must step in and develop the league and the domestic structure and start investing money. It is very sad that in Sri Lanka matches you see the Indian title sponsors," Sethi told the Daily News.

"Sri Lanka cricket is going to get left behind because we are all evolving in domestic markets. Now the markets are changing, domestics have to step up. You can't rely on external markets to find your market you've got to have an internal market place for your cricket. That is where most of the money has to come from," he said.

"The pace of commercial upswing in our business is not in line with what we expected. That's why the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) did not do well. BPL (Bangladesh Premier League) is doing well because their domestic market is very strong, Pakistan (PPL) will also do well because the Pakistan domestic market is also strong.

"These are all domestic leagues and nobody would come from outside to fund your domestic tournaments. You must have a domestic market for that. Sri Lanka as a market has to grow. It's not growing like we would like it to.

"In the recent past the war had ended and we were very hopeful an economic upturn would come. We saw signs of it happening then it sort of leveled off. Now we have a new government so we are hoping there would be a change."

Sri Lanka Cricket and Ten Sports enjoy a special relationship that extends to 15 years. Ten Sports have been the broadcasters of Sri Lanka cricket since 2001 and the relationship between the two has developed to a point that Sethi described it as "We are emotionally very close to Sri Lankan cricket."

"In fact Sri Lanka was the first Cricket Board that partnered with Ten Sports when the company was started. It is closest to our heart. We have an emotional bondage when it comes to Sri Lankan cricket. It's beyond commercial interest," said Sethi.

"We are a commercial company and we have commercial interest in front of us but when it comes to Sri Lanka Cricket we are always happy to walk an extra mile along."

Sethi revealed that the West Indies tour of Sri Lanka in 2001 was the first ever cricket series broadcast by Ten Sports even before Sharjah.

"Sri Lanka gets a separate standing on the pedestal because it was the first Cricket Board where we started our journey. Having said that other Boards are also important for us we have good relationship with them as well but in any relationship your first one is always your first love. So Sri Lanka Cricket is our first love," said Sethi.

Of the ten Test playing nations Ten Sports have tied up as the official broadcasters with five of them - Sri Lanka, South Africa, Pakistan, West Indies and Zimbabwe.

"We are a nimble company and we are relationship oriented. Our strength is knowledge of the local cricket scene. The way we know Sri Lanka nobody does. We know what is important to Sri Lanka cricket fans and to Sri Lanka Cricket that kind of knowledge is not available to anyone else," said Sethi. "It's built into the company. We have so many people who know Sri Lanka - the way the finance works, you may not appreciate that value but the whole system is geared towards servicing."

During his brief visit to Sri Lanka, Sethi also took the opportunity to meet the newly elected president of Sri Lanka Cricket Thilanga Sumathipala and some of the key office-bearers like K Mathivanan, Ravin Wickremaratne, Shammi Silva and Ashley de Silva and discuss what needs to be done to uplift Sri Lanka cricket to the next level.

"We had a generic discussion around the several practices being adopted in various parts of the world and how some of those learning could be brought into Sri Lanka," said Sethi. "Along with the due vision, thoughts and co-operation of Sri Lanka Cricket how it can be attuned into Sri Lanka and carried out to benefit the development of the game in the country. Most of the discussions were around development of cricket in the country."

Sethi described Sumathipala as "an absolute visionary and a great leader" and added, "He has a great team and not him alone but his team mates were fantastic". 

There is 1 Comment

Add new comment