Cricket Australia has revealed that the Big Bash Twenty20 competition, thought to be a financial success, has actually lost $33 million over its first five years, and the major contributing factor to the deficit is Cricket Australia's ongoing debt over their long-standing One Day competition.
It's been revealed that Cricket Australia amassed millions of unpaid debts due to interest on payments owed to players who hit the Mercantile Mutual sign during the 1990's. Shane Lee is owed $4 million alone from a 97/98 match in Canberra in which he hit the sign, initially winning $90,000 which has increased over the years.
"It's a real concern that there's this financial burden hanging over our heads," said Cricket Australia chairman David Peever.
"We should have just paid it off when we had the chance, but these cash loans...the interest rates are horrible. We've just paid off Steve Waugh for his 1995 sign hit, let alone Andy Flower hitting it when it was the ING Cup.
"Thank God every person we owe $100 for taking a crowd catch was so drunk off their tits they can't remember. Otherwise, we'd be ruined."
The financial desperation of Cricket Australia runs deep, with an anonymous source telling of a secret plot to murder Adam Voges after just his second ING Cup match.
"He hit the sign on his way to the fastest domestic century in just his second game," the source says.
"Based on form, Cricket Australia were scared that if he kept it up throughout his career they'd end up owing him the world.
"Like, literally the world. Billions and trillions and whatever comes after trillions. Nathan Fillions? So they organised a hit on Voges. Unluckily, the hitman got mixed up and hit the sign, so they owed him as well."
Cricket Australia are hoping that upcoming television rights negotiations will give them the money needed to finally wipe their financial slate clean. It seems they've learned their lesson and no longer offer prizes for the batsmen when they hit a six. In fact, the trademark flames that shoot in the air around the grounds in celebration of a six are just Cricket Australia incinerating their standing orders.
Big Bash fixtures for the upcoming season have yet to be released.