Setting up the 2009 IPL tournament in South Africa inside three weeks has been a logistical task unparalleled in world sport, IPL Chairman and Commissioner Lalit Modi said on Thursday.
Speaking at a news conference, Modi said one of the most challenging aspects of the league organisation had been getting the schedule right.
“My team finalised the schedule within 48 hours of arriving in South Africa. We started out having to schedule a league season of 56 games with each team playing the other seven on a home and away basis – plus three days of play-offs – in eight venues over a total of 37 days.
“There had to be an equal number of games per team in the main centres, no conflict with other major sports and cultural events and team and television production travel schedules had to be taken into account.
Expressing his pleasure at the way things had worked out, Modi was also lauded local authorities: “Government at national, provincial and local levels had been exceptionally accommodating, while the Cricket SA had welcomed the IPL with open arms and made its world-class stadiums available.”
Giving some statistics to back up the claim to a record-breaking logistical event, Modi said about 700 people were currently working full time in South Africa on the IPL, including an enormous team that has relocated from India to South Africa.
This includes the Central IPL and IMG event team of 60, a television and digital media crew of over 200, the eight team franchises bringing about 30 playing staff each along with 20 coaching staff, executives and team owners for each team.
In South Africa, a range of companies were engaged over the course of several days at the end of March to provide security, broadcast support, PR and advertising, event management, entertainment, travel, hospitality and ticket sales.
Modi believes holding the IPL in South Africa will bring with it tremendous economic benefits. “If we look at some of the key statistics it is clear to me that the economic benefits should be significant.”
Modi cited the total of 22,000 hotel rooms that have been booked with Southern Sun Hotels, 10 000 domestic flight bookings made and the millions of rands expected to be spent on tickets, food and beverage, transport and merchandise sales.
“We also expect large groups of Indian tourists will come to South Africa to watch at least several games each,” Modi concluded.