Team Own­ers Open to Shift­ing IPL Out­side In­dia

The Economic Times - - Brands: Creating Desire - Rav­iTeja.Sharma @times­group.com

New Delhi: The mood among IPL team own­ers and their top man­agers is chang­ing rapidly with many of them will­ing to sup­port shift­ing the T20 league over­seas for the 2017 sea­son in the wake of the many PILs be­ing filed against the func­tion­ing of the league in re­cent weeks.

“It looks like ev­ery­one wants to take off on IPL, find is­sues around the league. Th­ese things im­pact busi­ness,” said the CEO of one of the fran­chises. “What has the IPL to do with wa­ter is­sues in dif­fer­ent states? It’s the state govern­ment’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to pro­vide wa­ter,” he pointed out. An­other team owner said it will be sad if the league is moved over­seas since it will mean de­priv­ing fans of the teams from games in their home cities. “It is like twist­ing the IPL to gen­er­ate PILs,” he said. None of the team own­ers and CEOs ET spoke to wanted to come on record as there has been no for­mal an­nounce­ment by the IPL man­age­ment or the In­dian cricket board.

Th­ese re­ac­tions have been ne­ces­si­tated by a few events that have taken place re­cently. Ear­lier this month, the Bom­bay High Court asked the Board of Con­trol for Cricket in In­dia (BCCI) to move all IPL matches planned in Ma­ha­rash­tra af­ter April 30 out of the state while hear­ing a PIL by NGO Lok­satta Move­ment.

The IPL had said that 60,000 litres of wa­ter was be­ing used per day to main­tain the ground and pitch at the three sta­di­ums in Ma­ha­rash­tra — in Mum­bai, Pune and Nag­pur — at a time when many parts of the state are fac­ing drought con­di­tions.

Af­ter IPL de­cided to move the matches to Jaipur and Visakha­p­at­nam, an­other PIL was filed in Ra­jasthan. The Ra­jasthan High Court then ques­tioned the ra­tio­nale be­hind shift­ing IPL matches to Jaipur which it­self was fac­ing wa­ter short­age.

Last week, BCCI sec­re­tary and BJP MP Anurag Thakur said BCCI has be­come a punch­ing bag of sorts and the re­cent rise in pub­lic in­ter­est lit­i­ga­tions again the IPL is lead­ing to losses.

He said the IPL gov­ern­ing coun­cil will soon meet to de­cide on the venue for IPL’s next sea­son. “The IPL gov­ern­ing coun­cil will be look­ing at the venues in In­dia and abroad. We have to check the avail­abil­ity of the venues and pre­vail­ing con­di­tions,” he said. IPL chair­man Ra­jeev Shukla said that the IPL has emerged as a global sport­ing brand that some peo­ple are try­ing to de­stroy and this is ev­i­dent from the new con­tro­ver­sies ev­ery year around the tour­na­ment.

“It is dif­fi­cult to build a brand, but easy to de­stroy it. If th­ese kind of things con­tinue to hap­pen, we might have to shift the IPL out of the country,” Shukla said.

COURT­ROOM BAT­TLES

He pointed out that no one ques­tioned the use of wa­ter when sev­eral T20 World Cup matches were held in Ma­ha­rash­tra in March. The CEO of an­other IPL team said the de­ci­sion to move the IPL over­seas, like it was done in the sec­ond edi­tion and in 2014, will have to be taken con­sid­er­ing how vi­able it will be for the teams.

“Teams will lose out on tick­et­ing rev­enues and home crowd sup­port,” he said.

“And pos­si­bly even spon­sor­ship sup­port as many spon­sors back a city team be­cause they want a lo­cal con­nect with that par­tic­u­lar city or state.”

The govern­ment, he said, needs to be friend­lier to IPL teams as the league also contributes sig­nif­i­cantly to rev­enues of the state.

AFP

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