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Since 1st March, 1999
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Board and beginners stand to lose

Mumbai, March 22: The Indian Premier League’s shift abroad will leave most stakeholders largely unaffected except the lesser-known domestic cricketers, some of whom may be dumped by their teams. A look at how the scenario is likely to unfold:

Advertisers/sponsors: Will not be affected. The IPL being largely a television event, 75 per cent of brand activation happens through TV.

Multinationals say that shifting the IPL abroad would actually help them address a bigger market. In-stadia advertisers, mainly small local advertisers, may be affected but Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) sources say they are trying to find a solution to that.

Franchisees: Will not be affected in any big way. Only 6-7 per cent of franchisee revenues come from ticket sales while the rest comes from percentage shares in earnings from the sale of the IPL’s broadcast rights, sponsorships, merchandise sales, etc. None of these revenue streams will be affected, say the franchisees and their sponsors, many of whom are excited at the prospect of international exposure.

The franchisees say even their revenues from gate collections will not be affected too much since the ticket prices will be in the South African or British currency which will make up for the lower number of available seats in these stadiums.

On the flip side, however, franchises will not be able to build and leverage brand loyalty among the local audiences.

Broadcaster: Unaffected. The World Sports Group, which owns the television rights for the IPL and broadcasts through Multiscreen Media’s Sony network, has entered into a new deal with the IPL, sources said.

Under the pact, Multiscreen Media and World Sport will together pay the IPL 20 per cent over the originally agreed sum of $1.02 billion (Rs 5,212.08 crore). Sony, sources said, has also extended its partnership with the IPL to 10 years from five years, as planned last season.

BCCI: Will be seriously affected financially. Has promised franchisees it will underwrite all their extra costs: logistics, transport, hospitality, etc. But keeping the IPL alive means choosing to lose the battle to win the war.

Cricketers: The top names will not be affected. Sourav Ganguly may even get another chance to take his shirt off at Lord’s.

But Ranji-level players, who form a major chunk of the teams, may be affected. The BCCI and the franchisees, sources say, have decided to prune the teams’ strength from 25 members to 14-16 members each to cut costs. The axe will first fall on the domestic cricketers who have not yet had the opportunity to prove themselves in the IPL despite being part of the teams.

BCCI sources say that many domestic players in IPL teams may not have passports and providing that in three weeks may prove an uphill task.

The government: It will have to forget the Rs 100 crore in taxes it earned from the IPL last season. But it may have saved itself a security nightmare — and possible national tragedy and international embarrassment in the event of a terror attack on the tournament.

Spectators and audiences: Those who planned to watch IPL matches at a stadium will be the losers, but they have the option of flying to the UK or South Africa on a vacation if they can afford it.

The rest of us would have watched the league on TV in any case.

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