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The Financial Express
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Cricket boards set to suffer huge losses for coronavirus


A ticket collection point outside Lord's Cricket Ground wears a deserted look	— Internet A ticket collection point outside Lord's Cricket Ground wears a deserted look — Internet

The coronavirus outbreak has already impacted many sporting events across the world. In cricket itself, the action-packed Pakistan Super League (PSL 2020) got suspended just prior to the commencement of its playoffs.

The upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL 2020) season got postponed by two-and-a-half week until further announcement.

Moreover, the scheduled launch of the highly-anticipated 'The Hundred' tournament organised by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) also looks uncertain to go ahead as planned.

IPL postponement to cost BCCI 400 million rupees

When the mighty Indian cricket board decided this week that only the chief among its national selectors would travel business class, it merely confirmed straitened times for the game amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The uncharacteristic austerity by the world's richest cricket board follows its decision earlier this month to halve the winner's purse at this year's Indian Premier League (IPL), a cash cow with a brand value of $6.8 billion (5.87 billion pounds).

The franchise-based Twenty20 league was scheduled to begin on March 29 but has now been postponed until April 15.

To many, a condensed tournament, possibly without foreign players, later this year looks like a more realistic prospect.

A curtailed or cancelled tournament would mean significant losses for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which gets around 400 million rupees (4.64 million pounds) annually from broadcaster STAR India and its central pool of sponsors.

"The loss at this stage is notional. The biggest loser in any economic dynamics is always its biggest gainer, which is BCCI in this case," SportzPower co-founder Thomas Abraham, whose company monitors sports business in India, told Reuters.

A truncated tournament would necessitate renegotiation with Disney-owned STAR India, which was not available to share how it plans to dovetail the launch of its new platform with the IPL.

The BCCI and IPL franchises also pay 20 per cent of a player's annual fee to his home board, which stands to lose that money if it does not allow the cricketer into the IPL due to fears about the coronavirus for example.

The International Cricket Council (ICC), which runs the tournament, said it was monitoring the situation.

CA stands to lose A$300 million

Cricket Australia (CA) stands to lose some A$300 million (150.89 million pounds) should the coronavirus outbreak derail their high-profile home Test series against India later this year.

"We're in uncertain times, and it's difficult to project precisely what will transpire over the next number of months," CA chief executive Kevin Roberts said this week.

"But we will be working through with advice from experts, externally as to what are the various scenarios that are plausible, how likely are they, and how would we plan to deal with each of them."

England set to suffer losses greater than in World Wars

In England, England cricket board recommended all cricketing activities across England to be shut down immediately. The move was to assist England government's latest measures of counterattacking the coronavirus.

An England-based journalist has claimed that such a move would impact England cricket more than it did during the two World Wars. During the two World Wars, all professional cricket like Test matches were suspended.

However, recreational cricket like English league cricket went ahead as scheduled throughout the second World War.

The fate of the inaugural 'The Hundred' championship hangs in the balance after the epicentre of the pandemic moved from Asia to Europe, shutting down most sport on the continent.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) invested heavily in promoting the competition in the 100-ball format, which is scheduled to begin on July 17. "It is clear that every industry, including cricket, will be impacted by this unprecedented situation," Tom Moffat, chief executive of the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA), said.

Individually, top players from outside India risk losing IPL contracts worth millions of dollars if they are unable to travel or their boards deny them permission to play.

As far as FICA is concerned, Moffat said, the wellbeing of the players while the world deals with an international health crisis is far more important than cash.

PCB set to suffer massive financial losses

The postponed, coronavirus-marred Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2020 will reportedly have major financial repercussions for its six franchises and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), which were hoping to turn a profit this year after years of losses. According to a report by Cricket Pakistan, the PSL stakeholders were expected sizable profits this year as the entire tournament was being staged in Pakistan for the first time. However, since the tournament had to be indefinitely suspended on the day of the semi-finals, the tournament is set to lose out on sizable revenues, which the publication did not say what it was.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has postponed the ODI and the Test match against Bangladesh due to coronavirus outbreak.

Meanwhile, the PCB has also indefinitely postponed the domestic Pakistan Cup one-day tournament whih was featuring six provincial teams.

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