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Tough Times: Cricket Loss in Numbers Since 2020

Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers
Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have taken quite a huge toll on the sports industry. Cricket is among the sports that had to make a lot of adjustments because of the ongoing crisis. When the pandemic broke last year, the biggest cricket matches also had to be canceled or postponed.

The Indian Premier League is one of the most awaited cricket tournaments each year and last year, major changes had to be made. The Board of Control for Cricket in India decided to hold last year’s season in the UAE and the season also had to start at the latter part of the year.

Fans were just happy that the most-awaited cricket matches were still able to push through before last year ended and that this year’s IPL was able to come back to India. However, no one just really saw the recent events happening in the country. India is now hit hard by the pandemic and the BCCI had to suspend the current season of the IPL on its mid-season.

Fans are mainly only concerned about not being able to see their favorite athletes and teams play for a while. Some are just sad that they no longer have an exciting match to wager on or cricket odds live to check on during the match. However, on the business side of things, cricket has surely experienced a great loss in terms of revenues.

What BCCI’s Sourav Ganguly Had to Say

Now that the IPL is indefinitely postponed, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly spoke about the recent updates and he also hinted how much the IPL will lose if they aren’t able to pick the season up and complete it.

Ganguly said, “Lot of things are involved and we will slowly start working on them. If we fail to complete the IPL, the loss will be close to INR 2500 crore (around 340 million US Dollars). That is going by early estimates.”

This is why the BCCI is already looking at the congested international cricket calendar to find a window that would fit the rest of the season. There are already countries and counties that have expressed their interest in hosting the rest of the IPL season in September.

Sri Lanka is one of the said countries and according to Arjuna de Silva who is the chief of Sri Lanka Cricket’s managing committee, they are already in the planning stage of hosting the Lanka Premier League from July to August. This would make them ready to host the IPL in September if the BCCI accepts.

Counties in England like Surrey, Warwickshire, and Lancashire have also already written to the England and Wales Cricket Board to express their interest in hosting the rest of the IPL. So far, the BCCI and the IPL council have said nothing about these reports yet.

However, some sources are saying that the UAE is still the top choice for the BCCI with the last season’s success. For now, cricket fans will still have to wait. What certain is that the rest of the matches can’t happen in India, according to Ganguly.

What England and Wales Cricket Board’s Tom Harrison Said

Aside from Ganguly, ECB’s chief executive, Tom Harrison, also recently spoke about how cricket isn’t exactly out of the woods just yet when he talked about how it has been affected by the pandemic. According to Harrison, the pandemic whittled down the cash reserve of the board to just 2.2 million pounds. To understand how bad the pandemic hit the industry, the ECB’s cash reserve in 2016 was at over 70 million pounds.

Things are different in England, however, as India is still dealing with the heavy impact of the pandemic. In England, live audiences are set to return on the latter part of the season. The cases are also not as high as what India is experiencing at the moment. Even if Harrison said that they are still not out of the woods, things are still starting to look up.

Harrison said, “Over the past 12 months we have had to confront the biggest financial crisis the game has ever experienced. And despite the optimism around at the time of writing, it is clear we’re not out of the woods yet.

“Very significant challenges lie ahead. While we are hopeful and optimistic about the 2021 summer, we don’t yet know what the implications are for the return of crowds or indeed on ‘bubbles’ for this season. Our ambition for the 2021 season sets a very high bar — we cannot lose another year of progress.”