Further rescheduling of dates and venues could add to costs

The Indian Premier League (IPL) could go on to become one of the costliest cricket tournaments held in the history of the game due to the continuous rescheduling of dates and venues.

Given the enhanced concerns over security as the league’s dates are clashing with the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the governing body of the IPL has been forced to reschedule the tournament six times until now and the final go-ahead from the home ministry has not yet come as all the concerned states have not given the green signal.

It happened again on Tuesday. Sources told TOI that just when IPL commissioner Lalit Modi was ready with the schedule and wanted to announce it, a directive from the government stopped him from doing so.

“IPL was told that a couple of changes had to be made,” a source informed. Modi, however, looked unperturbed at the media briefing. In fact, he announced the addition of two more venues and said that he’s waiting for that one final nod from the states to go ahead.

On Tuesday, Modi also unveiled the new logo of the tournament in a grand function organised at a five-star hotel. Sources however, informed that the event was initially planned for extensive announcements about the tournament but had to be eventually cut short because of the last-minute government directive.

As of now, the biggest headache is for the International Management Group (IMG), the strategising and managing arm of the IPL. IMG has a tough task at hand – to organise the tournament in such a manner so that it fits in with the government’s perspective and concerns on security and also keeps the franchises and other parties happy.

As for the local and central sponsors, broadcasters, advertisers aren’t concerned as yet. They’re clear about the fact that should the tournament not go ahead, they’ll simply walk out.

And even if the tournament is on, contracts will have to be changed due to changing venues and telecast timings of the matches.

For once, it is the BCCI which is under pressure.

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