The IPL GC has not released the date and timetable of the IPL 2020 fixtures yet. Earlier, the tournament was slated to be start on 28 March but international fixtures along with the sapping heat in March delayed the tournament by a week.
Last week we also got a hint that BCCI is planning to start the IPL on 29 march but still some factors are delaying the time table and schedule of the tournament. One of the reasons is that BCCI wants to conclude the tournament before mid-May to give players some rest and also to ensure that England players get to play the full season which is not happening from last couple of seasons. Another difficulty is that if tournament starts on 28 march, Australian, New Zealand, England and Sri Lankan players will miss at least first week of the tournament if not more.
Another reason is that if BCCI increases the no of double headers the organisers and broad caster will not agree as it will decrease the no of audiences in ground as well as on TV. According to the sources BCCI is also planning to start the IPL on April 1 but broad casters won’t agree to a mid-week inauguration ceremony.
On asking a BCCI official, he quoted, “If the board waits for all players to arrive then it has to push it forward by another week, which will affect a whole lot of things. The franchises’ demands are understandable. They might not have their best players available for at least a match if we begin on March 28, which is a Saturday. But if we have to wait for all players to arrive, then we are talking about April 1, which happens to be a Wednesday. The chances of making it a grand spectacle in terms of a full house is less.”
However, the franchises are ready to a mid-week start as one of the franchise official said, “The idea is to have the best players available. So when the window is there, why not make use of it? Weekday or not, getting crowds shouldn’t be a problem,” making his point that International stars will fetch the crowd on any day.
Another problem for BCCI is that the official broadcaster, Star Sports wants to see the games starting at 7 or 7.30 pm as if the matches finish late at night the TRPs falls after 11 pm. That’s the reason they want an early start and less no of double headers.
On the other hand, franchises want an 8 PM start on week days so that people can come to watch matches after finishing their daily work. A franchise official said, “On a weekday, fan turnout isn’t huge if high-profile sides don’t play. Starting at 8pm is ideal because fans will have time to finish their work and get to the stadium. It makes a huge difference. Even though dates can be adjusted here and there, timing is non-negotiable for franchises.”
In 2019, too, the IPL started early but it was because of the ICC World Cup which started in May end.