Comilla Victorians, the Bangladesh Premier League’s (BPL) most successful side, has won four championships. Under owner Nafisa Kamal, they have been able to develop some type of brand value, something the country’s lone franchise T20 competition has failed to do.
Nafisa believes that BPL franchisees are not allowed the same privileges as other franchise leagues throughout the globe, and that Comilla will be unable to compete in the next BPL without revenue-sharing rights, for example.
As things are, TV rights remain tough to acquire, and franchisees do not get a portion of ticket sales, which impedes branding efforts.
“No ticket would go unsold if we had 50% of the ticket sales rights. “BCB does not give us any rights, either media or ground rights,” Nafisa remarked during a press conference.
“The notion of how a franchise tournament should work on paper does not apply to the BPL. “We don’t get any of the rights that a franchise should have,” she said.
At the time of posting this article, the BPL’s title sponsor had not to be disclosed. In contrast to the Tata Indian Premier League and the KFC Big Bash, there has been no continuity of title sponsors.
“How does it not interfere? Our work would have been simpler if BPL had a strong brand value in the market, or if BCB maintained a steady sponsor for ten years,” she said.
Nafisa Kamal owns Comilla Victorians. Photographer: Firoz Ahmed
Nafisa laments that the top club owners have been unable to meet with BCB to discuss revenue-sharing rights, among other issues.
“I have forgotten when they (BCB or BPL Council) last met with us [about income sharing]. This year, I simply instructed them to have a meeting and sit face to face, but that did not happen.
“I’m not sure whether I’ll do the BPL next year. With the way things are going, I doubt it will be feasible for me.
“Last year, when we won the championship, I said in a news conference that I intended to have a meeting with the owners of Rangpur and Chattogram, as well as Dhaka. Everyone deserves equal respect since they are all investing.
“What is the future of the BPL if Comilla Victorians do not play in it? It might be a new kind of BPL [this time]. You will understand in this BPL once the game begins, since Comilla will be on one side and every other club on the other,” she remarked.
When asked to confirm that they would be going, she said, “Yes, absolutely.” She went on to say that “ticket rights, ground rights, and media rights” are issues that must be addressed.
“We will be quite flexible in this area, and we are eager to offer what is best for them. If people donate the lowest amount, that’s OK, but let the structure get started.”
Nafisa, on the other hand, declared her readiness to join the BCB, but not as president, if Nazmul Hassan’s term ends.
“Not the BCB president but want to work with Bangladesh cricket,” she went on to say.
Given that the BPL’s performance is heavily reliant on the success of its most successful club, Comilla, the nature of branding and BCB’s lack of push to develop a more professional organisation continue to turn off fans and sponsors.