In 2009, a belligerent Lalit Modi took the Indian Premier League (IPL) to South Africa as a snub to the Centre after the government expressed its inability to provide security while the general elections were on. In 2014, a conformist BCCI has been asked to stage the marquee tournament outside India yet again with the general elections clashing with the IPL.
Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde made it clear to the BCCI delegates on Friday that elections were the priority. The development hasn’t exactly left the BCCI in a tizzy as feelers have already been sent to prospective venues.
Sources hint at South Africa as the best-suited venue, given the success of the 2009 edition, and that it suits the BCCI’s requirements on infrastructure.
It may sound perfect but there are problems. Taking the tournament out of the country means depriving fans of enjoying matches at the grounds, thus reducing the tournament to a television event.
Business to take a hit
Business opportunities riding on the tournament are also likely to be hit hard. Aviation, hospitality and on-ground food and beverage are likely to be the biggest losers. The franchises too will be hit. The average gate receipt normally works out to Rs. 2 crore per match, and with eight home games, a franchise makes about Rs. 16 crore on an average from a full house. This may not be the case this time.
Also, the sale of merchandise is likely to be affected with no concept of home games. Sponsorship, which is the main component of the teams’ revenue, may not grow on account of the tournament being a TV event. Staging the IPL outside India would mean tickets would have to be reasonably priced to bring crowds to the ground.
Forget about the profits from last year’s IPL through TV subvention, which stood at Rs. 302 crore and was distributed amongst state associations.
The associations will have to settle for less this time as the Board will compensate each franchise to cover the revenue loss. The BCCI had assured the franchise owners in the last governing council of the IPL that their losses from sponsorship and gate receipts would be compensated. Under this, the IPL will take into account a franchise’s gate receipts and sponsorship money from the last two years, and offer them a sum after drawing a mean average.
Logistical and operational expenses — international flights, hospitality in foreign currency and high production costs will double expenses for the BCCI. Lastly, there will be constant comparison with the 2009 edition. Will the BCCI be able to match the show? There will be intense scrutiny, especially in the wake of last year’s spot-fixing scandal.