Within a few Corona Virus has made its presence felt the world over as almost every single country has started avoiding mass gathering in a bid to control the Virus. In a last few days, the virus has also managed to sneak into India as more than 2 dozen positive cases of Corona have been registered in last couple of weeks.
Indian Premier League is no different and as per the Business Standard news- some key stakeholders in the IPL are in favour of closed-door matches with no ticket sales to minimise the Corona Virus risk.
With the Corona threat increasing with each day, the health ministry in India has also raised its concerns to the sports ministry regarding the mass gatherings. A meeting is also expected between the brass of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the health ministry next week.
Although, the BCCI president Sourav Ganguly on Friday reiterated that “everything is on schedule” and also provided assurance that, “We will take all precautions. I don’t know what the exact measures will be yet because the medical team is still discussing them.”
But now, the things are looking to be changing a bit. Given the colossal amounts of money at stake and the Corona Virus threat looming large, a top executive of one of the companies said: “There will obviously be concern about the health impact when 30,000 to 40,000 fans are in one stadium for so many hours for the next seven weeks across the country. One way out is to follow what many other countries are doing in Europe and what people are planning to do in the US, that is, to have closed door matches with no ticket sales.” However, BCCI has yet arrived on any conclusion till it discusses all the safety arrangements with the health ministry.
Ticket sales in the stadium during IPL constitute around 8-10 crore of the income of a team as only 1% of the fans watch IPL in a stadium. This amount is very tiny in comparison to the total revenue of the teams. And if the situation arises, BCCI may also compensate this amount.
The most of the revenue is generated from the Online Telecasting and Broadcasting platforms. For Disney (earlier Star TV) the stakes are very high as it has to spend over ~3,270 crore per annum for the broadcasting and digital rights for the Indian Premier League.
The IPL is also country’s most popular sports tournament at the moment. If BCCI allows fans in the stadium, the lack of audience duo to Corona Threat would also adversely affect the brand building exercise for a team, especially as the latest evaluation of the eight teams is estimated at $5.7 billion, based on data by Brand Finance.