At a time when businesses are arguing for restarting normal economic activity, stopping sporting events would seem to make little sense, especially if these are conducted without on-field audiences.
Given that BCCI stands to forego Rs 4,000 crore in earnings if the IPL doesn’t happen, it is not surprising that the cricket administrator is scoping out UAE as an alternative venue to host the mega cricketing event. More so, with work-from-home and movement/socialising restrictions driving up TV/OTT viewership, BCCI and Star, which won the broadcast rights for five years with a bid of Rs 16,347.5 crore, expect rich broadcast earnings. But, Novak Djokovic’s experience with his tennis tournament for the Balkans should make the BCCI think again. Djokovic, who had shrugged off concerns about Covid-19 risks, had to ultimately cancel the tournament before the final with many players (including Djokovic), coaches, etc, getting infected.
At a time when businesses are arguing for restarting normal economic activity, stopping sporting events would seem to make little sense, especially if these are conducted without on-field audiences. FIA, the body responsible for motorsport events, has successfully hosted three races with only two people testing positive over a three-week schedule, though there is no guarantee that this streak would last for the rest of the racing season. FIA has conducted 16,000 tests since the start of the season, of which 5,000 have been conducted between July 10-16. If BCCI can achieve a similar level of efficiency, IPL may not seem a bad option. But for that, BCCI would need to ensure there is limited interaction between players and intermingling is not allowed. It can create bubbles for each team so that interaction stays limited. But, more important, it will have to adopt rigorous testing.