Is the Hockey India League losing its financial viability?
Two hasty announcements have followed the pull-out of Ranchi Rhinos from the Hockey India League (HIL) last week. The quick introduction of Pune and the change in ownership of Mumbai, all in a matter of 24 hours by Hockey India following Ranchi’s pull-out, wear the look of damage control for a sport that has seen more valleys than peaks in its popularity graph for more than two decades now.
Ranchi dropped a bomb in the HIL assembly by announcing its sudden decision to put the franchise to sleep. The news sent Hockey India springing into action, while the abandoned players shared their concerns with each others.
Ranchi’s exit came at the heels of Dabur Group opting out as owners of Mumbai Magicians and thus sent Hockey India’s headache metre soaring into the red zone. Two owners packing their bags after just two seasons is never a good news for the organisers.Deccan Water Treatment Pvt. Ltd. were introduced by Hockey India as the owners of new Pune franchise, and less than a day later, on Sunday, the baton of Mumbai’s ownership passed from the Dabur Group to DoIT Sports Management. But still bubbling under those hasty announcements was this question: what made Ranchi, winners of the
inaugural HIL and one of the most popular hosts of the league, call it quits?
IBNLive.com is in possession of the e-mail that Pune shot to its players, describing the reasons behind its decision. And the contents of that communication mince no words that the HIL franchises are losing trust in the league’s financial viability.
In the e-mail sent by franchise’s CEO and former Bengal player Banti Singh, Pune made it clear to its players that it’s becoming difficult for HIL franchises to break-even and that “they don’t see any viability in continuation in the league”, hence leading to the hard decision of quitting.
Here’s the e-mail:
With deepest regret, on behalf the management of Ranchi Rhinos, I am to inform you all that co-owners of Ranchi Rhinos have decided to withdraw from the coming session of HHIL scheduled in January 2015.
In the light of withdrawal of Mumbai Magicians from the 2015 league and looking at previous two seasons and seeing not much change in the coming season, it has been felt by the owners that it’s not going to be easy for HHIL franchises to break-even, even in the coming few years and they don’t see any viability in continuation in the league.
The time spent with you all will always remain a cherished memory and we wish you all the best for the future.