Covid-19 IPL Sponsorship sportsbiz

Looking At The Implications Of The IPL’s Postponement And The Decision

May 7, 2021

For this week’s Meet The Team piece, iSportConnect’s Global Market Intelligence and Partner Content Lead Taruka Srivastava, looking at the implications of the IPL’s postponement with some guest voices.

Lot of questions were being hurled at the Indian Premier League (IPL) continuing despite India facing its worst COVID-19 crises with record number of cases and deaths.

What was more surprising was the deafening silence of Indian cricketers (except Ravichandran Ashwin, who was the first to opt out of the competition) on the subject, whereas cricketers like Shoaib Akhtar (from Pakistan) and Pat Cummins (from Australia) showed solidarity.

The season, which was being hosted in six cities, started on April 9 and would have ended on May 30 until it was suspended indefinitely after mounting pressure from the rest of the country and players testing positive.

Vijay Lokapally, Senior Journalist and author of ‘The Hitman: The Rohit Sharma Story’ said: “I think it was the right move but too late. The indications of the pandemic assuming monstrous proportions in the second wave were emphatic and the BCCI took a chance by looking to continue even when there was widespread misery. The insensitive response of the broadcaster and the cricket fraternity to the happenings around the country did not endear them to the general citizens.

“The fear of a backlash once players started getting infected due to breach of bio-bubble left the BCCI with little choice but to postpone the IPL. The commercial implications would be miniscule damage to its coffers compared to the irreparable damage inflicted on the people by the pandemic. I was extremely disappointed by the sickening silence of the cricketers on issues related to public safety and health. They lost the opportunity to become real life heroes during these distressing times faced by the mankind.”

While, Ashish Bhasin, CEO APAC and Chairman India, Dentsu said: “Given the prevailing pandemic situation, I think it was the right decision to postpone the IPL for now. The health and safety of all the players and everyone involved I think is paramount and keeping in mind the situation in the country and the prevailing mood in the nation, in my view it is the right decision.

“IPL is the single largest property on television in India and something that appeals to a wide target audience, across the geographies. It has unparalleled reach and has always proven to be an excellent vehicle for brands and I think that will continue to be so and that will not change.

“Given the fact that several parts of the country are going into lockdown, there are emergency measures been taken in different cities and towns to curb the pandemic, the severe shortages and difficulties being experienced, lives being lost to the pandemic, I think it is more appropriate to focus on that then on commercial issues for now. I’m sure the commercial issues will get discussed and resolved in an appropriate manner.”

If for some reason, the remainder of the IPL 2021 cannot be held, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly has indicated that the overall loss will amount to somewhere around ₹2500 crore (USD 340 million approximately).

BCCI and franchises work on a 50:50 revenue sharing formula and the hit will be shared equally by them. Broadcaster Star India is committed to paying BCCI inr 54.4 cr per match for a 60 game season and if this season gets shelved, Star will not pay for the remaining 31 matches (a total sum of Rs. 1,700 crore). Official partners such as Tata, Dream11, Unacademy, Cred, Upstox, PayTM AND Ceat collectively pay Rs, 280-300 crore for a full season. They won’t be paying around Rs. 144 crore to Rs. 155 crore if games don’t take place. Meanwhile, title sponsor Vivo pay Rs. 7.3 crore per game on a pro rata basis and now won’t have to pay about Rs.225 crore

Mahesh Ranka, Founder and CEO GameChangerZ said: “The loss predicted is provided if IPL doesn’t happen at all. If it does happen later this year, the remaining 31 games then I don’t think there is any financial implication to IPL per se because of what has been taken in terms of numbers and deliveries. With VIVO, in the past, it was different because of the sentiment and heightened cross border activity. If IPL does get cancelled, that’s when we will be seeing the loss for BCCI. Losses will be manifold for someone like Star and sponsors who would have planned their business around the IPL.”

Meanwhile, BCCI is in talks with England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) suggesting the likes of Lord’s, The Kia Oval, Emirates Old Trafford and Edgbaston as possible venues for the 31 remaining fixtures of IPL.

Mahesh Ranka added: “There is already talk of the ICC World T20 now being moved to Dubai from India. I think South Africa is another option. As England has already offered to host in September, I think it will be a great time to play then because it will be a better time and new audience. I believe IPL will happen for sure and that too within this calendar year.”

Covid-19 IPL Sponsorship sportsbiz