With the government on Friday saying it would not be able to provide security for the Indian Premier League (IPL) matches in the wake of general elections, the seventh edition of the T20 cricket extravaganza appeared set to be shifted out of the country.
“Due to general elections, it will be difficult to provide adequate security to IPL,” Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said. His ministry has already informed the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) that it will be able to provide security personnel only after the general elections, expected to be over in mid-May.
IPL-7 is expected to be held between April 9 and June 3 and BCCI’s working committee is likely to meet on February 28 in Bhubaneswar to take a final call on the venue. South Africa could be an option, as the cricket event had been held in that country in 2009, too. But the move could affect advertisers and broadcasters, who have been waiting to cash in on IPL’s high viewership.
BCCI had also initiated talks with a number of cricket boards to decide on a possible venue for the tournament, IPL Chairman Ranjib Biswal said on Friday. “South Africa is a favoured venue to host the matches but we will have to decide,” Biswal told PTI. However, the tournament will be brought back to India at a later stage after the elections are over.
Sports Minister Jitendra Singh said he was open to discussing the issues with the home ministry, if the authorities concerned approached him with a formal request.
Broadcasters and advertisers are willing to invest heavily in the event to grab more eyeballs. In 2012, broadcasters had charged around Rs 10 lakh per 10 seconds for the screening of the final tie between Kolkata Knight Riders and Chennai Super Kings. The previous year, the rate for 10-second slots in the final match was even higher, at Rs 12 lakh.
The shifting of the event is likely to affect advertisers, too. “Advertisers have been cautious in spending this year... IPL is a big event they have been looking for. But there could be some loss with a move to a different time zone and team owners not being able to collect ticket fares,” said an industry expert.