Abnormal times need exceptional considerations. The Board of Control for Cricket in India felt its broadcast partner Star India needs exceptional considerations in these abnormal times of COVID-19 pandemic. The Indian Premier League Governing Council did make exceptions.
The market and economic scenario is bleak. Brands are struggling and left with thin budgets for their marketing budgets. Sponsorship values are hit hard worldwide. In such a scenario, the IPL key stakeholders too face a challenge on the commercial front.
The IPL Governing Council on Sunday evening agreed to make several exceptions to its standard practices with the aim of easing the pressure on broadcast partner Star India.
The Walt Disney Company-owned broadcaster has committed an average ₹ 3,270 crore per annum as part of its ₹ 16,348 crore IPL media rights deal for five years. It remains a daunting task to recover such an investment and make profit. The COVID-19 pandemic-enforced economic slowdown has left the broadcast business further bleeding.
The IPL GC agreed to take these exceptional circumstances into consideration and conceded to several demands of the broadcaster. “We realised that Star Sports should be helped in the best possible manner in these times. The Governing Council unanimously agreed on changing the date of the final, number of double headers and match timings,” a GC member confirmed to SportzFront on condition of anonymity.
FINAL ON TUESDAY
Star Sports, as reported by SportzFront earlier, wanted the IPL final as closer to the Diwali as possible, if not on the Diwali day. Considering the demand the decider for the IPL 2020 has been shifted from the original plan of November 8, Sunday, to November 10, Tuesday.
This will be the first occasion in the 13 years of the IPL that a final will be played on a week day.
“That was the best we could have considered with regard to the final. The (India) team will now have to directly fly from the UAE to Australia,” said the GC member.
India will be playing their first international series in December in more than eight months since the One Day International home series against South Africa in March was cancelled without a ball being bowled. The first ODI at Dharamshala was fully washed out and the subsequent two matches were abandoned due to spread of novel coronavirus.
NEW TIMINGS TO START MATCHES
Star Sports’ long-standing demand to advance the match timings by half an hour too has been accepted. In yet another first for the IPL, the day matches will start at 3:30 pm IST (2:00 pm UAE time) and the prime time games will start 7:30 pm (IST / 6 pm UAE time).
This will help in avoiding late night finishes and garner more eyeballs for the broadcaster.
The GC also agreed to increase the number of double headers from five to ten and play then first match on the days of two games in the afternoon. Earlier, it was planned to have two simultaneous games in the evening across two venues. That would have resulted in a clash of broadcast inventory.