India's cricket board has slashed the prize money by half for the winners and runners-up of this year's IPL, the world's most popular and successful T20 league.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said the move was part of measures to cut the costs of the glitzy Indian Premier League (IPL), starting March 29, which attracts top players from around the world.
Indian media reports said the board was also doing away with the opening ceremony, usually an extravagant affair with top Bollywood celebrities crooning and dancing before thousands of cheering fans.
"The financial rewards have been reworked as a part of the cost-cutting measures," the BCCI said in a circular sent to the franchises.
As a result, the champions will get $1.36 million instead of $2.72 million. The prize money for the runners-up has also been halved.
"The franchises are all in good health. They also have multiple ways like sponsorships to bolster their income. Hence the decision on prize money taken," the Press Trust of India quoted a senior BCCI source as saying.
Each of the eight franchises will also have to shell out $68 119 to the state association for each game it hosts, up from $27 197.
The moves have not gone down well with some of the franchise owners, the Times of India said.
The IPL has been hailed as a commercial success since its debut in 2008, and has inspired similar Twenty20 leagues in other countries.
It has also triggered a debate over whether players were giving preference to clubs ahead of their countries, given the large paydays on offer.
Australia's Pat Cummins went for $2.17 million in this year's IPL auction. Players keep about 75 percent of their auction price - effectively their salary for the two-month season.
In 2017, Star India paid about $2.5 billion for five years of broadcast rights, the biggest TV deal seen in cricket.