Sports Monks

IPL 2020 Behind Closed Doors Amid Coronavirus Outbreak Makes No Sense

As the fans are awaiting for the 13th edition of the IPL to kickstart from March 29, there is an increasing possibility that the tournament might be played behind closed doors. The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday, March 12, said it is advising against hosting Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 amid the outbreak of coronavirus in the country. Coronavirus thus is a big concern ahead of the tournament as more and more positive reports are being resulted. 

MEA Spokesperson, Raveesh Kumar while addressing the media on Thursday said that the final decision is on the hands of the IPL organisers, but said that the ministry is bound on not going ahead with the tournament this year due to coronavirus outbreak. 

“I think it is for the organizers to decide whether to go ahead with it or not. Our advice would be to not do it at this time but if they want to go ahead, it is their decision,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared on Wednesday that the coronavirus outbreak could now be seen as a “pandemic” as coronavirus cases are constantly increasing around the world.

Also Read: IPL All-Star Match Postponed -Reports

Sale of IPL Tickets Upheld

Image result for ipl tickets
Photo Source: ( https://twitter.com/BCCI)

Amid coronavirus outbreak, all the franchises have upheld the sale of tickets at the moment. Four officials of different IPL franchises confirmed on this statement to Economic Times. 

“We were to start ticket sales on Friday, but now everyone is waiting for the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) to decide whether IPL will happen as per schedule or not,” one team owner said. “Except for the Mumbai Indians, which cannot sell tickets as per the (Maharashtra) state government directive, rest of the teams have put the sale on hold.”

Meanwhile, the IPL governing council in a meeting on Saturday, March 14, will decide the future of the tournament which will be held between March 29 to May 24. It is also said that the cancellation of the tournament was never a thought among the organisers. However, measures of having the tournament in closed doors or states that would allow matches will be a part of their discussion. 

The ministry also sent an advisory notice to all the sports authorities including the BCCI that tournaments will be held behind closed, if unavoidable amid IPL Coronavirus outbreak. “If you look at the government advisory, it’s a good move as they are not saying that matches can’t happen. We are ready to conduct IPL behind closed doors,” said a senior BCCI official.

Also Read: IPL 2020: MS Dhoni to Start Training With CSK From March 1

Impact on Other Sporting Events

Image result for Champions League TReal Madris vs Manchster City Coronavirus threat
Photo Source: (premierleague.com)

Meanwhile, various other sporting tournaments are being held behind closed doors amid coronavirus outbreak. The ISL 2020 final between Athletico de Kolkata and Chennayin FC will be played behind closed doors as a safety measure. Football games across Europe are being held behind closed doors as well. The La Liga matches in Spain have been postponed for two weeks. An entire season in the NBA has been suspended after a player has been tested positive of coronavirus. The Champions League match between Real Madrid and Manchester City has been postponed. Also, the Indian Open Badminton tournament is to be played between empty stands. 

However, the closed-door strategy adopted by the sporting community to overcome coronavirus concerns only exempts the audiences from being affected, not the players. The risk of the players being affected by coronavirus remains as they get competitive on the field.

 IPL Behind Closed Doors- Not a Good Idea

Image result for mi vs csk 2019
Photo Source: ( https://www.iplt20.com/)

However, the IPL happening behind closed doors makes no sense, as it will have large scale implications on the overall tournament and its shareholders. The financial structure of the tournament will be massively affected in case the IPL is held behind closed doors or cancelled. 

The brand value of IPL in 2019 was $6.7 billion. If the IPL 2020 is cancelled amid coronavirus outbreak, it will be a huge loss for all the shareholders- franchise owners, players, broadcasters as well as BCCI. The biggest setback would be for the broadcasters Star TV who will be broadcasting the tournament this year. BCCI would earn as much as Rs 4,000 crore from the broadcasting rights this year. Moreover, Star TV has invested as much as Rs 3,000 crore for broadcasting and digital rights, for this year’s IPL. Also, the salary of the players and the money that the franchisees are getting through ads and media rights are also kept into consideration.  

With little chances of the tournament getting cancelled, the only option that the seems open is to have the tournament in closed doors amid coronavirus outbreak. However, with so much at stake including the board, franchisees and the players, IPL being held behind closed doors is not a good option. This option may cost the franchises financially in terms of ticket sales, on-ground advertising etc.

Also Read: IPL 2020 Schedule

Deferring the tournament is also not a good option for the BCCI. The cricket calendar is already packed with the men’s World T20 in October later this year in Australia and various other bilateral tours.

Earlier this week, the BCCI President Sourav Ganguly said that the board will take the necessary precautionary measures to conduct a Coronavirus-free IPL. What precautions will the board take and what implications will it have on the players and the tournament overall, is something that only time can tell. 

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