The seventh Indian Premier League cricket tournament is due to commence on 16th April. However with India holding its government elections during the same period that the tournament is scheduled to run, 16 games are to be held in the United Arab Emirates rather than in India, as the government is unable to provide security during the elections. The games will be played in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi.
In 2009 the IPL headed to South Africa and it was rumoured it was headed back there in 2014, but this has now changed. There are still concerns that taking the tournament outside of India, deprives the fans of enjoying the matches at the grounds and thereby reduces the tournament to being purely a television event.
The franchises too will be hurt by this move as they make on average AUD$362,000 per match, and with each franchise having eight games at home revenue purely from gate receipts climbs to AUD$2.8million.
It goes without saying that merchandise sales will be affected, and some franchises are concerned that sponsorship, which is the main component in each team’s revenue, will be unable to grow and may in fact be reduced with the tournament being held outside of the country.
Last year the regional cricket associations in India benefitted in a share of the AUD$54.5million profit from the television rights. They will have to settle for less this time around as the BCCI – India’s Cricket authority – have stated that franchises will not be compensated for this loss in revenue. However they have agreed to compensate for the losses suffered from gate receipts and also sponsorship.They will do this by taking into account the Franchise’s gate receipts and sponsorship from the last two seasons of the IPL, and will draw a mean average.
The BCCI will also bear the increased costs from logistical and operational expenses, for things such as international flights, hospitality in a foreign currency, and higher production costs. These costs alone are expected to be double what the BCCI spent on the IPL in 2013.
There is no doubt the 2014 version of the IPL is going to be different and it will be interesting to see how the tournament pans out. The IPL is bound to be under closer scrutiny in 2014 after the revelations of the “spot-fixing” in games last year, and holding so many games overseas is going to put added pressure on the event, as comparisons will be made to 2009 when South Africa successfully assisted in hosting the event. Playing the tournament in a non-test playing cricket nation also carries huge risks and with the BCCI wanting to handle the accounts of World Cricket, many will be watching with great interest as to how much money the event makes in 2014.