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5 IPL possibilities explained: Truncated tournament? Closed door matches? More double headers?

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There is a considerable revenue that comes from ticket sales but that contributes a very small share to the entire pie. The major revenue sources for the IPL are broadcasters, sponsorship and advertisements.

More double headers to compensate for lost time

The IPL was scheduled to start on March 29 which has been now pushed back to at least April 15. This means that 17 days have already been shaved off the tournament. With the international schedule packed after the league, it might not be possible for them to push it too much after the earlier closing date of May 24.

If the Governing Council still wants to hold the tournament in its entirety, they will have no option but to resort to double headers and have two matches on most days - the first one at 4:00 p.m. IST and the second one at 8:00 p.m. IST, as has been the case in the previous seasons.

The double headers were done away with to honour the demand of the broadcasters because of the relatively lower sale of tickets in the afternoon games. There were only a handful of double headers scheduled in the season. But, under the new circumstances, that arrangement would have to be changed if the organisers want to play all 60 games.

Truncated IPL

Asked if the tournament could be a curtailed one, BCCI President Sourav Ganguly said, “It will happen, because if it is April 15, then, in any case 15 days are gone, it has to be truncated. How truncated, how many games, I can’t say at the moment.”

The earlier announced fixture of the IPL had all the teams playing each other twice in a double Round Robin format, followed by the four-match playoff including Qualifier 1, Eliminator Qualifier 2 and the Final. However, with less time on their hands, it is quite possible that one Round Robin league-stage is done away with altogether and just 28 matches remain in the group stage, where each team takes on the other one once.

The derbies can be slashed. This will not only be cost-efficient but ensure that all stakeholders are assuaged.

Closed door competition

There is a considerable revenue that comes from ticket sales but one has to understand that it contributes a very small share to the entire pie. Most of the revenue comes froms the broadcasters, sponsors and advertisers.

Hence, even if the spectators are not allowed inside the stadium during the tournament, it will not have that big an impact in the entirety of the league. If the effects of the coronavirus outbreak do not decline in the near future, it is quite likely that the IPL will adopt the closed door policy.

More matches at one venue

India, owing to a large number of grounds for international cricket, has not faced this problem but there are many places across the world which have a limited number of high-class stadiums. There, a group of teams play at one venue and other group plays at the second one on the three or four strips on the same ground.

After each team has played a couple of matches at a particular venue, both groups swap places and play a couple of matches at the other venue. This is a very cost-effective measure and not only helps to keep the tournament streamlined but also reduces the risk of fatigue due to excessive travel.

The model is successfully followed in many leagues across the world such as the Caribbean Premier League where chartered flights are booked for the travel of a group of four teams along with the support staff and all other crew members.

Going down this route will help the organizers sanitize the chartered flight and book the entire hotel. This will not only be financially wise but will also reduce the risk of the virus spreading as a smaller area can be taken care of by the paramedical staff.


In case the unprecedented call of cancelling this season of the IPL is taken, it would entail huge financial loss but that would be more to the service providers attached to the tournament. The reason why the organisation and the broadcasters will not suffer that big a loss is m that the entire tournament is ensured and the insurance companies will have to pay the pre-decided amount in case the matches cannot go ahead as planned.

This is obviously the last resort but will help ensure the wellbeing and safety of all the participants. Unfortunately, it is not outside the realm of possibility.

©Cricket World 2020