Stake Holders Are Excited, Advertisers Would Come-IPL Chairman:
The postponed Indian Premier League ( IPL) scheduled to take place in the UAE will begin on September 19 and run until November 8. IPL President Brijesh Patel confirmed the schedule on Friday, even though the Indian Board is waiting for the government’s green signal to get the IPL out of India. “We wrote to the Government of India. We ‘re waiting for a reply early. Once this happens, the IPL Board of Directors (GC) meeting will be called next week to finalize all other details.
That means, with the T20 World Cup finally postponed, the BCCI managed a 51-day window for the IPL, the same as last year. This rules out more double headers than it did in 2019. Having two matches a day was a matter of concern to broadcasters because they are unable to exploit afternoon games like night games. Doubleheaders are rarely planned on holidays, and this is likely to happen this year as well.
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One key concern that BCCI needs to tackle is deliberating on its earlier statement that Chinese IPL sponsorships will be checked. “We ‘re going to take the matter up at the (GC) meeting,” Patel said. Chinese smartphone makers ‘Vivo’ is IPL ‘s title sponsors and their five-year contract is worth R2.199 crore. Two other backers, Paytm and Dream11, also have Chinese stakeholders.
In the midst of border tensions with China, BCCI tweeted on June 19, “Taking note of the border skirmish that led to the martyrdom of our brave jawans; the IPL Board of Governors convened a meeting next week to review the IPL ‘s various sponsorship agreements.”
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The meeting of the Board of Directors would also have to determine whether or not to continue the home-and-away format. There are three cities in the UAE — Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Dubai. There are two grounds in Dubai; apart from the main stadium, there is an ICC academy site where T20 internationals of affiliated nations have been set up.
The conference would discuss the allocation of spending between the franchisees and the board. Operational expenses-travel and stay-may still be covered by BCCI’s logistics support franchises.
It’s found that BCCI was willing to pay the staging fees as it did in 2009 and 2014 when the tournament went overseas. This could ease the concerns of franchisees who were unhappy this year when BCCI raised the fee from R30 lakh to R50 lakh per game.
Franchises, however, face a loss of revenue if IPL is played behind closed doors. The last edition of the eight franchises made about R250 crore in gate revenue. BCCI does not preclude having small crowds and hospitality boxes if the coronavirus situation permits. “We ‘re going to try the advice of the UAE government if we can get some crowd,” Patel said.
He denied that broadcasters were uncertain of meeting the revenue goals under prevailing market conditions. “Everybody’s excited about the IPL. And advertising companies are looking forward to this. I ‘m sure there’ll be enough people out there to advertise. All stakeholders are pleased, “said the former Indian batsman.
Franchises are awaiting a formal statement on the IPL to confirm the availability of international players. England and Australia are scheduled to play a limited-over series, which is scheduled to end on September 15. The Caribbean Premier League, featuring the best of West Indies cricketers, will end on September 10. Getting these players to Dubai without any difficulties is going to be a challenge. “There may be a case of a player who is not able to fly because of health issues. We’ll just know when the official announcement comes, “said a senior franchise official.
One thing that went in favor of the UAE as a venue is a relaxed quarantine procedure. Currently, those traveling to the UAE after receiving a negative test result, who will again be screened negative on arrival, will not have to undergo quarantine. The other Standard Operating Procedures ( SOPs) to be followed by all stakeholders will soon be shared by the BCCI.
It is estimated that with teams taking a month to practice, the franchises will depart the base by August 20, giving them exactly four weeks to prepare.
Former Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh, who plays for Chennai Super Kings, is glad IPL is finally going to happen. “I’m looking forward to playing. IPL is the largest T20 league in the world. It’s good cricket’s resumed. The England-West Indies Test Series has also been successful so far, giving cheers to the cricketing world.
“Nonetheless, I’m still somewhat worried about how we’re all going to cope with the situation. Covid ‘s cases are small in the UAE, so it’s a positive thing. Yet we’re going to have to be very patient, not to go out to meet someone and stay in the bubble. This would have been fresh and intimidating. Interestingly, we ‘d be going there one month before the tournament, which means we ‘re going to be away from our families for a long time. It is not yet clear whether families will be able to travel during the competition.