It could cost Indian cricket more than half a billion US dollars if this years IPL is cancelled. That is the stark warning provided by the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) treasurer Arun Dhumal.
However, the potential losses, the Indian board is hoping to avoid pay cuts for players, although they cannot rule it out completely in a report in Cricbuzz.
The IPL is the richest franchise tournament in the world, with a brand valuation which was put at over US $6.7 billion last year by the consultancy group Duff and Phelps.
In 2018 broadcaster Star Sports paid US $220 million for the exclusive rights for five years, and the satellite channel was expecting to making US $400 million this year alone from selling advertising slots.
More broadly, cancellation would have a major impact on the country’s economy it is estimated to generate in excess of US $11 billion for it annually, equivalent to 3% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product).
Originally scheduled to begin on March 29th, but delayed because of the coronavirus outbreak, the IPL was suspended indefinitely on April 15th following the government lockdown.
Despite this the BCCI has refused to cancel it, instead exploring a range of options as to how it can still take place. These have included scheduling it later in the year, or playing it overseas, with both the UAE and Sri Lanka offering to host the 13th edition of the tournament.
Given how valuable the event is to them, the reluctance of the BCCI to cancel it altogether this year is understandable, although given that there are no gurantees as to when competitive cricket will return again, it is hard to be optimistic.
However, if it does transpire, in the end, that the 2020 IPL has to be abandoned, then the issue of salary reductions may have to be revisited. Cricket Australia has already furloughed more than 80% of their staff and cut expenditure back to the bone. And their counterparts at the England and Wales Cricket Board have imposed wage cuts.
If there is no IPL, how long before the BCCI follows suit?