BCCI is looking at a big revenue loss in case IPL does not take place
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) stands to lose at least $530 million if the Indian Premier League (IPL) is canceled this year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The 13th edition of the cash-rich tournament was scheduled to be held between March 29 and May 4 this year but it had to be postponed to April 15 after the Indian government imposed a lockdown starting from March 25.
The BCCI then had to further delay the 8-team tournament indefinitely after the lockdown was extended as the Covid-19 crisis deepened in the country.
"The BCCI is looking at a big revenue loss. In case the IPL does not take place, the loss would be close to 40 billion rupees ($530 million), or even more," said BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal.
Cancellation of the IPL this year would mean a direct loss of Rs 3269.50 crore for Star India, the host broadcaster of Indian cricket who shelled out a whopping Rs 16,347.50 crores ($2.55 billion) for the worldwide rights of the IPL for a 5-year period from 2018 to 2022.
The BCCI office-bearers are dwelling on the possible chances of holding the tournament sometime later this year but to identify a window even for a curtailed IPL will be a herculean task thanks to a packed cricketing calendar, which is also on hold due to pandemic.
"We are not sure whether we will be able to have it this year," Dhumal admitted. "We will only be able to figure out the exact revenue loss once we are sure of how many games we have lost."
At a time when a lot of football clubs are cutting wages of their players to minimize their losses, the BCCI is working hard to ensure that they don't have to cut salaries of Indian cricketers.
That would be the last thing that we would want to do at our end. That is why we are working (on) how much is the loss finally we have to pay.
"So once we are able to assess that then we might consider it, but it will be the last thing on our agenda," Dhumal said.
Dhumal also said that the board won't hesitate to call off India's upcoming tour to Sri Lanka in June if the situation doesn't improve.
"The safety and health of our cricketers are paramount and any shred of doubt, we will not shy away from calling it off," Dhumal said.