BCCI suspends IPL 2021 momentarily; fantasy sports operators comment

BCCI suspends IPL 2021 momentarily; fantasy sports operators comment Fantasy sports operators viewpoints on the momentary suspension of IPL 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 has been postponed, said the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Tuesday after several players tested positive for COVID-19.

“The Indian Premier League Governing Council (IPL GC) and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in an emergency meeting has unanimously decided to postpone IPL 2021 season, with immediate effect.The BCCI does not want to compromise on the safety of the players, support staff and the other participants involved in organising the IPL. This decision was taken keeping the safety, health and well-being of all the stakeholders in mind,” BCCI said in a release.

Two Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) players Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier, Chennai Super Kings bowling coach Lakshmipathy Balaji and a CSK travel team support staff member are among those who have tested positive for the virus. As per IPL protocol, CSK squad was put in isolation. “These are difficult times, especially in India and while we have tried to bring in some positivity and cheer, however, it is imperative that the tournament is now suspended and everyone goes back to their families and loved ones in these trying times,” the BCCI release added.

According to the BCCI, it earned Rs 4,000 crore from the IPL in 2020 when the tournament was held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) without crowd attendance. IPL 2021, which was also held in a similar bio bubble and purely on a broadcast platform, was expected to bring in the same amount of money for the BCCI. On an average the BCCI earns Rs 67 crore from every match broadcast. However, with 31 matches in the 60-match tournament still remaining to be played, the BCCI is staring at a loss of more than half its revenues. This Rs 2,000 crore hit to India’s cricket board could also spell bad news for IPL franchises. That’s because with half the tournament cancelled, the BCCI’s revenue hit may lead to a drastic fall in contributions to the central reserve pool of the IPL.

The country’s cricket board and various IPL franchises have been criticised for conducting the tournament when India is suffering a deadly second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. Various petitions have been filed in the country’s courts to stop the annual cricketing tournament, which generates huge revenues for its participants.

Earlier today, The Bombay High Court agreed to consider a plea filed for cancellation of Indian Premier League 2021 keeping in mind the deaths and cases of coronavirus in India during the second COVID wave. The plea also seeks to penalize the Board of Control for Cricket in India(BCCI) with Rs 1000 crores for the “gross mismanagement and negligence” in holding IPL in the middle of COVID pandemic and a direction to utilize this penalty and the profits from IPL to help people struggling to find medicines and medical oxygen for treatment. With the news that IPL will come back twice in a year, the fantasy sports operators had shifted gears and doubled down their campaign, collaboration, promotion, strategy game to offset the downtime caused by the pandemic in 2020. However as soon as Covid19’s second wave hit the Indian ecosystem, it seems that the fantasy sports sector will fall again in the pandemic puddle. Since fantasy cricket is directly dependent on the sporting events, therefore, the suspension of IPL 2021 mid way will have a bad impact on the industry.

Commenting on the suspension of IPL tournament for, PlayerzPot co-founder Mitesh Gangar shared to AnimationXpress, “IPL has always been a bringer of good cheer and celebration. Last year, when the world’s live sports events were cancelled, IPL 2020 was the lone ray of sunshine in an otherwise locked down and sports starved world. The way it was professionally managed while ensuring all safety procedures were followed, seriously deserves kudos! But with the way the virus has been changing and spreading this year, the pause is good if it ensures the health, safety and well-being of everyone working to pull this off seamlessly. At PlayerzPot, we understand that the bigger picture is one of a healthy, virus-free worlds, and if pausing this edition of the IPL can help safeguard our players and their families, then, while it is definitely expensive, it is still a small cost to pay in the larger scheme of things.”

EWar Games founder Parth Chadha shared with Animationxpress that, “Definitely, it is a correct decision to suspend IPL taken by BCCI. During these tough times, IPL tried to bring positivity for many Indians who are locked/isolated indoors (within their homes), but given the recent developments (some IPL players testing Covid positive), there was no other option but to discontinue the event. After all, health and safety is (and always will remain) paramount!”

Dream11 also tweeted the information on their official twitter handle Dream11

Soon after Dream11 tweeted about their PUMAX Dream11 collaboration on summer tshirt

Paytm First also shared the news on their official twitter handle

Soon after they posted about their Spin and contest

BCCI is yet to announce when will IPL 2021 resume. Till then the Indian fantasy sports operators can continue working on creating a sustainable environment for survival. According to our observation from first pandemic wave, here are the ways Indian fantasy sports platforms could survive this second wave of pandemic:
· Fantasy Sports platforms should shift their focus in planning and preparation of campaigns for upcoming tournaments.For example T20 World Cup season which is still scheduled for October-November 2021, so fantasy sports operators can plan for it in prior to bounce back during the cricket season.

· They can also open up their platform for discussion, chats, contests, and other engaging activities to retain the consumers.
· Fantasy Sports Operators can also focus on other business expansion plans (like Dream11 and Paytm first Games) and expand to other game of skill games to continue the momentum.