19 Mar

The Indian Premier League (IPL) could lose out on ₹3,869.5 crore (US$521.6 million) in broadcast revenue if the Twenty20 franchise cricket tournament is cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a report by India’s Business Today magazine.

The competition, which has been postponed until 15th April after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) pushed back its scheduled 29th March start date, is also reportedly at risk of losing a combined ₹600 crore (US$80.9 million) in central and title sponsorship deals.

Among the IPL domestic's broadcast partners, media giant Star India had apparently sold more than 75 per cent of its tournament inventory two months before IPL’s original start date. According to Business Today, the broadcaster had originally set its sights on attracting ₹3,300 (US$445 million) in broadcast and digital advertising revenue this year.

Speaking to Business Today, Harish Thawani, chairman of Nimbus Communications, owner of the Indian satellite channel Neo Sports, said that in the event of the IPL being cancelled, the risk shifts to the broadcasters. He expects that most IPL teams, including the BCCI, will be insured in the case of the tournament not going ahead.

In response to the outbreak in India, the BCCI met over the weekend to discuss the upcoming cricket season, issuing a statement reassuring fans that it is making the safety and health of all involved in the tournament a priority.

‘The board will continue to monitor and work closely with the government of India, state governments and other state regulatory bodies to decide on the future course of action in the best interest of public health,’ said BCCI honorary secretary Jay Shah.

India is on the verge of a nationwide lockdown as the government confirmed that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases nationally had grown to 137.

John Stephenson


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