What is IPL?
The Indian Premier League IPL is an annual professional T20 cricket league usually held in a two-month window between March and May. It was created by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in 2008.
Its brand value in 2019 was ₹475 billion (US$6.7 billion) and according to BCCI, the 2015 IPL season contributed ₹11.5 billion(US$160 million) to the GDP of the Indian economy.
The 2019 season of the IPL offered total prize money of ₹500 million (US$7.0 million), with the winning team netting ₹200 million (US$2.8 million).
The first and second runners up received ₹125 million (US$1.8 million) and ₹87.5 million (US$1.2 million), respectively, with the fourth-placed team also winning ₹87.5 million (US$1.2 million).
There have been 12 seasons of the tournament so far and the IPL 2020 season was going to be the 13th, which has been indefinitely suspended due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
IPL SEASON 13
The IPL Auction for the 2020 season was held on December 19, 2019, in Kolkata. The BCCI decided to release the fixture details on 18 February 2020.
The league was scheduled to take place starting 29 March but on March 13, the BCCI decided to suspend the tournament till April 15 due to the global coronavirus pandemic and as the country went into a state of lockdown.
While fans were eagerly waiting for further news on the issue, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 14 announced that the lockdown in India would last at least till May 3.
The BCCI was already starting to lose revenue but took a sensible decision to suspend the tournament indefinitely.
On April 17, Sri Lanka cricket offered to host the tournament but hosting was not the issue here, the situation of the pandemic was also to be taken into consideration.
The government has stated that the decision to conduct the mega sporting tournament will be taken based on the situation of the pandemic.
Further in June, the BCCI confirmed that their preference was to host the tournament in India, possibly between September and October and the decision will take place keeping the ICC T20 World Cup in view.
• The IPL involves a lot of revenue, it has made several sponsorship deals and will be at a huge loss if the tournament does not take place.
• Keeping in mind that STAR has a 5-year contract, they need to at least make 20 % of it every season.
• A team approximately spends about 400-500 crores on players, staff, etc. About 200-300 crores of this are recovered from team sponsorships and they rest from stadiums and broadcast revenues.
• About 150+ brands take part in the IPL due to its immense popularity and viewership. A lot is spent on promos and campaigns.
• A lot is at stake. Everyone is dependent on the government to take the appropriate measures. The BCCI is too far deep from backing off on this issue.
So what next?
• The most common outcome would be to play in empty stadiums since IPL gathers a large crowd which eventually increases the risk of contracting the virus. This would result in meager revenue from the tickets but would result in an uprise in streaming platforms.
• Postpone the IPL further but it would result in losses and clashes with other match commitments.
• Cancelling the IPL this year which would result in a huge revenue loss.
Cricketers opinion on the issue
Several cricketers expressed their desire to take part in the IPL but preferred health first.
They stated that as much as they wanted to play, it was also important that the COVID issue is taken into account.
World Cup-winning off-spinner and Chennai Super Kings star Harbhajan Singh said saving lives should be a priority in the time of the Covid-19 crisis and Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 should be held only when the safety of players and stakeholders are assured.
Chennai Super Kings vice-captain Suresh Raina agreed with Harbhajan Singh, saying one mistake can cost lives and thus the organizers should adopt a careful approach when planning for IPL 2020.
Several South African and Pakistani cricketers have already tested positive for the virus.
It is understandable that cricket fanatics want the IPL to take place this year but it is also important to note the devastating damage this pandemic can do.
BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, in a letter, addressed to stakeholders and state associations, said;
“the apex body is hopeful and will look at all possible options to stage IPL 2020. The BCCI is hoping to host the IPL if the International Cricket Council (ICC) postpones the T20 World Cup scheduled to be held in October-November in Australia”.
As cricket lovers, we want to witness the IPL but as sensible humans, we value human life. Only time will tell what the outcome will be, till then let’s be hopeful that everything pans out well.
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