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BCCI Considering Holding IPL 2020 in July and 'Without Fans if Needed'

(Image: ICC)

(Image: ICC)

The Indian Premier League may be held in July of this year or sometime in the winter according to sources.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have been keeping their fingers crossed and options open for a possibility of orgnising the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 as early as July, after the T20 tournament was postponed owing to the 21-day coronavirus lockdown.

“The board is looking at an alternate window to host matches, possibly in July, or latest during winter,” a BCCI official told CNBC-TV18 on condition of anonymity.

The 2020 editon of the IPL was slated to begin March 29 but te spread of coronavirus in March forced the tournament to be put on hold.

The cricket governing body in the country is keen watch on the coronavirus situation and is hopeful that the entire event be canceled, given the financial commitments of the stakeholders including BCCI, the broadcasters as well as the franchise owners.

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So IPL matches may also be held withouts fans in the staidum, “but only as a last resort”, the official quoted above said.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day national lockdown to encourage social distancing and slow the spread of the virus, with talks among many quarters that the lockdown may be extended.

According to estimates, if the IPL is not held this year, the tournament might lose Rs 5,000-Rs 7,500 crore of its Rs 47,500 crore valuation (by Duff & Phelps last year).

“If the lockdown is extended, it would be difficult to have a full-fledged IPL in the current window till the beginning of June,” said another senior BCCI official to CNBC-TV18.

The BCCI official said the board was still working out its revenue hit should the event be cancelled but warned of significant “collateral damage” to broadcasters and sponsors should it not be held.

If the IPL is canceled, broadcasters Star India, would lose Rs 3269.50 crore, with them having bought the right for Rs 16,347 crore in 2018 for five years.

“The (Indian) premier league is a major contributor to the Star Network, and not just Star Sports,” said an insider to CNBC-TV18.

There would be loss of revenue from the title sponsors as well, with Rs 400 crore from VIVO. The had also signed a Rs 2,000 crore deal for a period of 5 years.

“The financial impact will be very heavy if the IPL is not played this year, but we don’t yet know how much would that be," said a Chennai Super Kings official.

Some estimates also put the IPL not being held denting a blow to the Indian economy as well.