Hampshire team up with Rajasthan Royals – how will this work?

February 9, 2010 at 2:28 pm Leave a comment

Hampshire have announced a deal with the Rajasthan Royals to form the first global sports alliance. Plans include a link up between Hampshire, Rajasthan Royals, Victoria Bushrangers, Cape cobras and Trinidad & Tobago. Under these plans, in their respective Twenty20 tournaments they will carry the Royals’ name, so Hampshire Hawks become Hampshire Royals. Apart from the name change, what does it mean for the teams involved? England Cricket takes a lot at how this will function and possible problems that may arise with these ambitious plans.

The Royals2020 brand will have teams playing under the same name and with the same kits. Already a problem has arisen for Hampshire if they carry the Royals’ name, with Worcester already playing under that name in the domestic limited over competitions. Although, Worcester chief executive sees no issues in both playing with the same name.

The plans will also see players as well as profits shared between the 5 participating teams. The benefits for Hampshire already become clear, increased funding for investments and star players competing for them. We will need to wait and see how the other 19 counties react to this news. However, rules for the new Friends Provident Twenty20 league mean that only two overseas signings can be made. Hampshire have already signed on Ajantha Mendis and Shahid Afridi to fill these slots, so the benefit of player sharing is unlikely to be felt at this stage. On the other hand, the player sharing will allow young Hampshire players to hone their skills in India, or Australia and vice versa.

The plans also include a series of annual Royals2020 ‘festival’ to be held between the participating teams. They are keen to hold the first tournament in England in July over three days, although they will need to be smart with scheduling to avoid a clash with the domestic Twenty20. Permission must first be obtained from the ECB, who will be eager not to let anything deflect attention from the relaunch of their own twenty20 competition. A TV issue arises, with Sky TV automatically to be given rights due to the terms in their current contract with the ECB regarding any domestic competitions being played in England.

This is a dangerous precedent for the future of domestic cricket, with the other 19 counties likely to follow if the ideal is successful. However, those who fail to secure similar deals could struggle to keep up financially and on the playing field. It looks a selfish move by those involved, with the impacts on the rest of the game being relatively ignored. Further plans are to extend this global franchise further into Pakistan, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Bangladesh. With the potential of the Royals almost playing all year round. All year and nationwide exposure will be good for the Royals brand, but what about the rest of the domestic teams?


Entry filed under: Cricket.

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