MUMBAI: There is nothing official about it. Yet! But the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League is set to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic which has gripped the entire world, Indian Express reports.
The report adds that the Indian cricket board is only awaiting an announcement from the Indian government and Union Sports Ministry for the final call on the tournament.
“IPL will not happen this year. It will now happen next year. We all know how the situation is at the moment in the country and no one will take any risk. One can’t have social distancing in the stadium. It’s better to play IPL next year,” a source in the IPL administration informed Indian Express.
Aside from the obvious that the COVID-19 outbreak means that 2020 will likely end being a lost year for ALL sports, there is the financial dynamics at play as well. Corporates, who foresee the economy slowing even further, are contemplating as much as 50% cut in their advertising budgets, Business Standard reports, quoting media buying agencies.
RS Sodhi, managing director, Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation, makers of Amul, said: “We devote 20-25% of our ad budget around sporting events. This year, major tournaments have been pushed back. So, some part of that money has gone into advertising on news channels and GECs and some will go into digital advertising.”
Kamal Nandi, business head and executive vice-president, Godrej Appliances, told the business daily: “Summer will be a washout for us because of the lockdown. I am ruling out any advertising during the April-June period. As far as advertising beyond that goes, much will depend on how fast things improve.”
There are others who portray an even gloomier picture. Shripad Kulkarni, media agency veteran and independent expert, said he saw advertising down by 10-15%, if not more. “I don't foresee any major sports events happening this calendar year. For businesses, the biggest challenge will be to keep operations going and tide over the liquidity crisis," he said.
IPL is set to join a long list of events which has been postponed till next year. Olympics 2020 and Euro 2020 are two of the biggest tournaments that have been pushed to 2021 due to COVID-19 threat.