Government's Unwillingness To Provide Security Could Force IPL To Move To South Africa
With the Indian government on Friday saying that it would "not be able to provide security" for the Indian Premier League matches in the wake of general elections, the seventh edition of the T20 cricket extravaganza "appeared set to be shifted out of the country," according to the Indian BUSINESS STANDARD. Indian Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said, "Due to general elections, it will be difficult to provide adequate security to IPL." IPL-7 is "expected to be held between April 9 and June 3" and the Board of Control for Cricket in India's working committee is "likely to meet" on Friday 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 '09, too. The move "could affect advertisers and broadcasters, who have been waiting to cash in on IPL’s high viewership" (BUSINESS STANDARD, 2/22). In Chennai, G. Viswanath reported the BCCI has asked Cricket South Africa to give the "in-stadia facilities in South Africa without any encumbrance" as it looks to shift the Pepsi IPL-7 to the "Rainbow nation in April-May." South Africa is the "clear choice of the team owners, not only because the excellent facilities that the many venues there offer to the stakeholders, but also because of a potentially high response from fans there that can maximise gate receipts." BCCI officials who are "in dialogue with CSA said that South African provinces may have pouring rights arrangement with different beverage companies and hence it would directly clash with the commercial interest of Pepsi which began its five-year title sponsorship of the IPL last year." The IPL-Pepsi agreement is worth Rs. 396 crore ($63.7M), almost "double the sum" that Indian real estate company DLF paid for the first five years. CSA has an agreement with Coca-Cola (THE HINDU, 2/23).
MOVE WOULD IMPACT VIEWERSHIP: The Indian BUSINESS STANDARD reported while broadcaster Multi Screen Media has said the matches "will be telecast in line with Indian time slots, advertisers could be wary to spend their money as the viewership is likely to be hit with the event not being held in India." MSM President Rohit Gupta said, "Our viewers are used to tuning in at 4pm and 8pm for IPL matches. The BCCI has assured us the matches will happen at these times and the weekend matches will take place at prime time." Franchises are "likely to be affected the most since these will not be able to collect as much in-stadia fee." Sources indicated that franchises collected Rs. 15-20 crore last year through ticket sales. The nine franchises, "many are in the red, had to dole out Rs 600 crore to BCCI as annual fees for hosting teams." Sources have confirmed that the BCCI is "now likely to refund the franchises for the logistic costs" (BUSINESS STANDARD, 2/22). In New Delhi, Pinto & Malvania reported "the proposed venue change" of at least one leg of the IPL may have "stumped broadcasters and franchisees alike but in no way does it mean advertising revenues in the April-June quarter will dip." Advertisers are "expected to shift attention to programming around the general elections, as well as properties such as Satyameva Jayate on STAR Plus to make up for the loss of visibility" (BUSINESS STANDARD, 2/23).