BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal has said the board earned Rs 4,000 crore from IPL 2020 which was held in UAE under strict COVID-19 guidelines with the matches played in empty stadiums. The annual T20 league also witnessed a jump of 25 per cent in viewership compared to last year as well. Also Read - IPL 2021: Full List of Players Released by Each Franchise on Deadline Day
IPL 2020 was originally scheduled to start by March end but the coronavirus outbreak resulted in indefinite suspension before the board arranged for it to be held in the UAE. Also Read - Oxford Preparing New Versions of Coronavirus Vaccine Shots to Fight New Mutant Variants
IPL got underway from September 19 and the matches were played across three venues in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah. “The Board managed to cut nearly 35 per cent of the cost as compared to the last IPL. We earned Rs 4,000 crore during the pandemic time. Our TV viewership went about 25 per cent higher, we got the highest-ever opening game (Mumbai Indians versus Chennai Super Kings) viewership. Those who doubted us came and thanked us for hosting the IPL. Had this IPL not happened, cricketers would have lost one year,” Dhumal was quoted as saying by The Indian Express. Also Read - 3 Out of 4 Deaths Among Health Workers 'Unrelated' to Vaccine Jab, Clarifies Centre
Dhumal revealed that after Novak Djokovic, world’s top-ranked male tennis player, tested positive for coronavirus after playing in couple of exhibition matches, the board was in two minds whether to go ahead with a tournament of the magnitude of IPL which will go on for nearly three months.
“After that report (Djokovic testing positive) came in, we were in two minds. Many people told us to not go ahead with it (IPL). What if something happens to a player? The IPL would go on for almost three months. However, Jay (Shah) said we should go ahead, he was more confident than all of us,” Dhumal revealed.
IPL went without any major hiccup. However, there were concerns right after the players had landed in UAE when several members of Chennai Super Kings contingent tested positive for the coronavirus. Among them, were two cricketers.
“When we heard the news, we tried to understand whether it is asymptomatic or serious. We were told all are asymptomatic. So all went under isolation and we went by all health authorities’ advice. We must thank the UAE, which stood with us every moment,” Dhumal revealed.
Over 30,000 RT-PCR COVID tests were conducted for around 18,00 individuals and the board had also blocked 200 additions rooms in case there were any positive cases.