Will coronavirus affect the IPL?



The news that the IPL has halved its earnings due to India’s current economic slowdown is not the only news plaguing the once cash-rich tournament. The BCCI has asked franchises to pay Rs 50 lakh as match hosting fees to their respective state associations, a sharp increase from the earlier amount of Rs 30 lakh. In the latest news troubling the IPL, the tournament could stand cancelled and suffer even more losses if the government is unable to take action against and control the coronavirus epidemic, known officially as Covid-19.

Further, a possible fall in gate money is a huge worry.

A senior franchise executive said, “Between now and March 29 (when IPL begins), there are about three weeks left. The answer to this question depends on how these three weeks pass. If a newspaper headline tells me in the morning that coronavirus is spreading, then it’s going to play on my mind. I will not want to see myself entering a cricket stadium with large crowds. So, yes, it’s a worry right now.”

IPL franchises make up their lost money through gate money. Another franchise executive said, “So, that’s Rs 3.5 cr for seven home games. Add that to the expenditure incurred in the setting up of a venue ahead of a season and ahead of every match. Then, there’s a separate fee that needs to be paid for security for every game. There are several miscellaneous expenses incurred.”


Expenses like gate money, in-stadia branding, merchandising, hospitality are a few avenues from where the expenses can be recovered, but if panic spreads and stays, it certainly will have a cascading effect on the IPL.

The BCCI has written to the centre, looking for advice from the government in the wake of the coronavirus threat but has not heard back. The centre, however, has advised states to avoid mass gatherings, which is being seen as a message to the BCCI to ask the franchises to avoid filling up stadiums.

The source voiced his frustration with the lack of action from the center, saying, “That’s a very twisted logic. Either the tournament will happen or it won’t but franchises can’t be told that they can’t sell tickets. After all, it’s business. If the paying public chooses not to go, that’s fine. Let this week pass, there’ll be a better indication of whether the threat is under control.”