The Indian Premier League Governing Council Chairman Brajesh Patel has today (Friday) confirmed to a section of media that the IPL Season 13 will be staged in the UAE from September 19 to November 8.
The dates have unofficially been communicated to Star Sports and the franchisees. But that is not enough for the IPL host broadcaster and the team managements to set the ball rolling for the season ahead.
They are still awaiting a formal announcement. Concerns remain until a green signal is obtained from the Government of India for staging the league at the offshore venue.
More than the logistics, the teams and Star Sports are primarily concerned about the commercial aspect of their business. “Taking the team to the UAE, accommodation, practice, flights is no big deal. The services we have to obtain against payment will never be an issue. The bigger concern is that we have no certain answers for our sponsors,” an IPL team chief executive said on condition of anonymity.
“These dates are as off a BCCI plan. BCCI has formally sought the Government nod. The BCCI can only confirm the dates and plans after that,” said another team official. “We have been in touch with our players. Unless we get confirmed dates even (overseas) players’ availability cannot be confirmed. Can we go to our sponsors without knowing our match dates, team line-up and match timings.
“There are many unanswered questions. Unless we get those answers we are as clueless as anybody else. We cannot even connect with our existing sponsors, leave aside making fresh pitches. It is important to know the SOPs before we can make any offerings to our commercial associates.”
Similar sentiments are echoed by a Star Sports business team member. “It will take a week to ten days before we could go out to the market. The 51-day league with only five double headers over a period of seven weekends is some consolation. Another positive is that the league will be at its peak in the weak preceding the Diwali.
“But honestly speaking we are not adequately prepared to reach out even to the brands which had committed for the league in April-May. We need to know the match timings. We are expecting a 7:30 pm start. We also need to know team composition. Ones all these factors are figured out we will hit the market. We are optimistic. Things are gradually opening. Still, it will be difficult to say that how the market will respond.”
The teams and the broadcasters have a massive task to recover their investments from a market that has been dented severely by the COVID-19 pandemic. Amidst all challenges, they are eagerly awaiting for this period of uncertainty to end at the earliest.