Market not ready to support IPL with same fervour, feels Uday Shankar

Uday Shankar, President of The Walt Disney Company, APAC, and Chairman of Star and Disney India, believes the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the market which in turn in not ready to support the 2020 edition of the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL) with same fervour as it used to in the past.

“The entire economy has gone through a massive shock,” Shankar was quoted as saying by The Economic Times.

“I am not sure the market is ready to support the IPL with the same fervour,” he added while admitting that the advertising revenues need to be substantial to break even for the broadcaster (Star) and other stakeholders involved in the T20 league.

The 13th IPL edition, which was to start in late March, currently remains indefinitely postponed following the outbreak of novel coronavirus which has claimed more than 18,000 lives so far in India.

Recently, IANS reported that IPL 2020 is likely to be held overseas, with a choice to be made between UAE and Sri Lanka.

The final announcement is expected soon as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is still awaiting an official decision on the fate of the T20 World Cup which was to be held in Australia in October-November.

There are a couple of voices which want to take the IPL outside if needed. IANS had earlier reported that the decision-makers in the BCCI were divided in 3:2 ratio with regards to deciding on the venue of the league. “See, it is a case of the decision makers being divided 3-2 if that is how you wish to understand the current scenario.

“There are a couple of voices who feel that having the tournament should be the priority and if that means taking it out of the country, so be it. So, while we are working on the overall plan, the venue is an area which will need further deliberation. Also, at the end of the day safety of the players and everyone involved is priority,” the official had explained.

IPL Chairman Brijesh Patel has been vocal that location shouldn’t be a concern if the league is being played behind closed doors.