25 Jul

The Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) is pulling out all the stops to make the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) a reality and safeguard the Rs 2000 crore ($370m) advance it has pocketed from broadcaster Star TV and various sponsors as Covid-19 cases continue to increase in India.

From the IPL 2020, which was originally scheduled from March 29th, the board would have earned about Rs 4,000 crore ($740m) from media rights and sponsorships alone. This includes Rs 3,300 crore ($611m) from media rights holder Star India, Rs 440 crore ($81m) from title sponsor Vivo and Rs 170 crore ($31m) from a clutch of on-ground sponsors, umpire and strategic time-out partners.

A senior board member told The Economic Times (India), “Not conducting IPL means a big hit to the board’s bottom line. We have already received advances of close to Rs 2,000 crore ($370m). Not delivering IPL will mean either we will have to give it back, or extend all the contracts by one year. Both the options are not in the favour of the board.”

Vivo, the title sponsor of the league, had won the rights for Rs 2,199 crore ($407m) for five years.

A bevy of other on-ground sponsors including Tata Motors, fbb and Dream11, were supposed to pay Rs 40 crore ($7.4m) each for the 13th edition of IPL.

As part of its monetisation, umpire partner Paytm and strategic time-out partner Ceat were to pay Rs 28 crore ($5.2m) and Rs 23 crore ($4.3m), respectively.

Another board official told ET that Star India had been requesting the board to take a decision on the league since May.

“If we had cancelled, Star would have asked for a refund and the matter would have reached the courts. Also, we hoped the ICC would cancel the T20 World Cup and a window would be available. Nobody could foresee when the pandemic would subside, but now we have a real chance for IPL 13 to materialise,” he said.

The BCCI has sent a proposal to the government, seeking permission to move IPL to UAE and is looking at a start of 19 September with the final on 8 November.

While the development has spread cheer among the fans, media rights holder Star India and team owners are worried about their revenues.

“The BCCI will get its spoils, but what about franchises? This year, a total of over Rs 500 crore ($92.6m) was riding on team sponsorships. If the matches are held in empty stadiums, team sponsors are going to renegotiate the deals,” said a top executive of one of the franchises, however having the IPL during the festive season may be more attractive for brands.

John Stephenson


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