The Indian Premier League is probably one of the biggest sports events in India. The tournament draws millions across the world to their televisions and thousands to the stadiums as the world’s top players (along with emerging stars) compete for the trophy. Naturally, a tournament of this size requires a massive amount of planning and staff. This year, it seems like the producers (Star Sports) may have hit a hitch. Keeping in mind the impending general elections, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has announced only two weeks’ schedule for the event.
Sources state that the absence of a full schedule is affecting the planning of the IPL – at least form the producers’ side. As it stands, the dates for the second half of the tournament are yet to be announced. The source tells us that getting a stadium ready for a match takes an estimated time of two days. This includes putting the 35-odd cameras in place and coordinating with the staff – whose number is estimated to be 200.
If the dates are changed, the Star Sports will have to ensure the staff is informed since they’ll need to prepare the stadium. The cameras, crew, presenters and other arrangements must be in order before the start of the match.
Besides figuring out the schedule, the BCCI also has to finalise the venues. In the past, match locations were shifted due to security concerns. Chennai Super Kings had to shift their home base to Pune in 2018, following protests and disruptions over the Cauvery issue. In 2009, the entire tournament was shifted to South Africa as India hosted the general elections. Our source hints such a development could be a possibility this year, with South Africa and the UAE being on the radar.
If the IPL is hosted abroad, Star Sports staff must be ready to travel. They must also be provided lodging. The producers also have to figure out a way to transport all the required equipment. That could turn out to be a logistical nightmare.
The IPL’s official statement said: "These [dates] are still subject to the announcement of the Lok Sabha 2019 election dates. Once these have been released, the BCCI will address any issues with the first two weeks and will also prepare a schedule for the remainder of the season working with the local authorities around the polling dates."
Until we have an official word the locations and venues, we’ll take the word of our source with the proverbial grain of salt. According to the already published schedule, the IPL starts from March 23.