BCCI moves IPL to UAE, in respite to sponsors/advertisers

Forum Gandhi Mumbai | Updated on May 29, 2021

Remaining 31 matches to be held in Sept-Oct

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided to shift the remaining matches of the Indian Premier League 2021 to the UAE. This move should come as a respite to sponsors, advertisers, and viewers said, industry experts.

Earlier this month, IPL was suspended until further notice after several players and staff members of different teams tested positive of Covid-19. Now, the BCCI has decided that it will continue the remaining 31 matches in the UAE “considering the monsoon season in India in the September-October,” BCCI said in a statement.

The decision was taken at a Special General Meeting (SGM) held virtually, where members unanimously agreed to resume IPL. According to Lloyd Mathias, Business Strategist and the former A-PAC Head of Marketing for HP, when the IPL was underway in April, the Covid-19 second wave was spreading, making its continuance unfeasible. This was not just because the bio-bubbles were breached but also the fact that the IPL seemed truly insensitive with the death and devastation all around.


Now that the pandemic seems to be receding, the BCCI plans to re-start the tournament in the UAE in mid-September. “I believe it is a justified move on several counts. For one, it doesn’t impact safety or strain relief and healthcare operations in India, being played in the UAE to empty stadiums and secure bio-bubbles," Mathias said.

Chunk of revenues

A BCCI source told BusinessLine that had this decision not been taken it would have cost the board a revenue loss of at least ₹2,000 crore. Advertising and sponsorships make a chunk of the revenues of IPL. Brand expert and founder of Harish Bijoor Consults Inc, Harish Bijoor, said shifting the remaining fixtures of IPL to the UAE resuscitates the season and the monetisation hopes from sponsors, broadcasters, and marketers. “It's really a way of shifting matches back into a more secure bubble than was possible to ensure last time round,” he said.

According to Mathias, apart from being a revenue-generating model for companies, “it is a significant engine of commerce to a beleaguered economy providing jobs and a much-needed respite to the millions impacted and stressed by the pandemic – for whom this resumption will mean some live entertainment, helping them tide over the trauma of the past few months.”

Now, the only challenge for the BCCI is the availability of players. “If the required players are not there, we will have to ask the franchises to look for replacements,” said the source.

Published on May 29, 2021

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