Match-fixing by broadcasters (was Re: Seeking Opinions of Aus/NZ/Eng/SL Fans)

Match-fixing by broadcasters (was Re: Seeking Opinions of Aus/NZ/Eng/SL Fans)

Post by deep poi » Wed, 29 Aug 2001 20:48:38


> > Not just the defeats, many of India's wins in odi's are also due to
> > match fixing. So far the focus has only been on the
> > betting/bookies-driven match-fixing, but no one has looked at a much
> > bigger source of match-fixing: the sponsors/TV guys. ... With so much money
> > riding on it, isn't it likely that these companies will try to influence the > results of the matches so that India goes through to finals ...

> I know little about cricket and less about match-fixing, but there is
> an interesting parallel here with accusations made by a player in the
> National Basketball Association last spring concerning the networks
> desire to get large-market rather than small-market teams into the NBA
> finals.  He charged that the league was influencing, not players, but
> officials to produce the desired results.

I didn't know about that NBA accusation. Thanks for the information.
It is but natural. As long as there is a huge imbalance in the amount
of following enjoyed by different teams, the TV
networks/sponsors/organizers would obviously like to have the team
with the highest amount of following playing as often as possible.
After all they are doing a business here, not a charity organization
with the motto of providing clean cricket to the viewers. They just
want to maximise their revenues and one sure way of doing it is to
have large-market teams like India playing in finals of one-day
tournaments. It is like any other entertainment business. Movie
producers would prefer to produce movies with stars with huge fan
following and having done that, they would prefer to have the star hog
as many scenes as possible with the rest of the cast playing a
supporting role. Similarly, in any tournament involving India, India
is the real star with the other teams playing a supporting role.
The problem is more acute in cricket compared to other sports because
of the limited number and kind of countries playing the game. Indian
economy is much bigger than that of Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, New
Zealand and West Indies. While UK, RSA and Australia may have bigger
economies than India, I don't think they can match the passion with
which cricket is followed in India. It is not just the percentage of
people watching a game, but also the kind of impact advertising has in
India. If Sachin Tendulkar appears in an ad for a pen today, you can
be pretty sure millions of 10-year-olds will be buying the same pen
very next day, and that number will be even higher if he happened to
hit a match-winning century. So when you consider the product of
number of people watching a game and their average ability to spend
and the average impact of advertising on their purchasing decision, I
think India is miles ahead of other cricket playing countries. As a
consequence, the ad revenues that a network can generate by showing a
match involving India are much higher than what they can get by
showing a match involving any other country.
So when a network bids for telecast rights for a tournament involving
India, they have two choices. A) Assume that chances of India making
the finals is 30% (or whatever it is if you don't fix any matches),
calculate your potential revenues based on that assumption and bid
accordingly B) Assume that chances of India making the finals is 100%,
calculate your potential revenues based on that assumption, subtract
the cost for making sure India goes through to finals and bid
accordingly. As long as the cost for making sure India goes through to
finals (cost of fixing a match) is less than the shortfall in revenues
by not having India in the finals, network which bids using method B
is always going to win the bid. With the growing middle class in India
and a passion for cricket which just doesn't seem to have any limit, I
think this problem is only going to get worse in future.
Fortunately, Test cricket doesn't have the kind of following in India
which one-day cricket has. As a result I think the longer variety is
still relatively clean. Being a Test cricket fan that suits me fine,
which is why I keep telling one-day cricket fans that Test cricket is
absolutely boring and please stay far away from it.
But seriously, only solution is for ICC to break up Indian team into 2
or 3 teams. Maybe South, West and North+East. That will solve so many
other problems too. No more cribbing over selections and Cricketwallah
will no longer have to pretend as if he cares for rest of Indian
> Could match-fixers in cricket do as well by approaching umpires as
> players?  From the controversies I've seen here over umpires' eyesight
> and powers of judgment, it looks as if an umpire could make or not
> make the occasional critical call without raising much suspicion.

> Gary Williams