IPL opening ceremony may drop some glitter this year
Unlike earlier editions, the opening ceremony of this year's Indian Premier League could be a less vibrant affair, with the Board of Control for Cricket in India planning to keep the event low-key amid allegations of spot-fixing and betting in last year's tournament.
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Sources claim that BCCI, which on an average, spent around Rs 25 crore on IPL opening ceremonies in the previous editions, could trim the budget by over 40 per cent this year. "It could well be below Rs 15 crore this year," said a person familiar with the development.
BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel confirmed the cricket governing body would not splurge on the opening ceremony this year.
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"We do not want to spend too much on the opening ceremony, as the main focus is on the game rather than things around that. It will be modest and less glitzy," Patel told Business Standard.
He hinted that there would be a "substantial" cut in opening-day celebration budget.
Image: Deepika Padukone performs during the opening ceremony of the sixth edition of Indian Premier League.
Franchises exploring ways to make up for the revenue loss
While the Supreme Court's interim order has allowed IPL-7 matches to be played according to schedule, the first phase of the tournament will take place in the United Arab Emirates. This, according to sources, would squeeze revenues and could be one of the reasons for BCCI to plan a modest opening ceremony.
It is learnt that franchises are also exploring ways to make up for the revenue loss with the initial games scheduled to be played abroad.
But sources say the primary reason for the low-key event remains the controversies surrounding IPL.
The apex court recently criticised BCCI's functioning and forced the country's richest sport-governing body to replace its president, N Srinivasan, with former cricketer Sunil Gavaskar.
Image: Cheerleaders in action during IPL 6
'Too much glitz may again put questions over source of revenue'
Also, there was doubt on whether the Court would allow participation of two top teams - Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals - in this year's IPL, after claims of betting and spot-fixing by executives of these teams. However, the interim order has allowed participation of these two teams as well.
"Keeping things modest is safer right now because IPL has been receiving a lot of negative attention. Too much glitz may again put questions over source of revenue and lead to further controversy," said a member of the IPL governing council, asking not to be named.
The official added that the franchisees are worried about revenue flow this year. So, spending too much money on events that did not generate substantial returns was deemed unnecessary.
In 2013, global rap star Pitbull and Indian film stars like Katrina Kaif, Deepika Padukone and Shah Rukh Khan had been roped in for an extravagant opening day celebration in Kolkata. In fact, Khan's Red Chillies Entertainment had organised last year's opening ceremony.
Image: The opening ceremony of IPL 6
Shift in venue likely to squeeze revenues
- Rs 20-25 crore Total amount spent on an IPL edition opening ceremony for the past few years.
- 40% Likely reduction in BCCI's budget for IPL opening ceremony for the 2014 edition.
- Celeb shows: While global rap star Pitbull performed at last year's ceremony in Kolkata, Bollywood actors Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif and Deepika Padukone were roped in.
- Court rap: The likely reduction in scale has come after the Supreme Court's recent criticism of the league over the spot-fixing scandal in the 2013 edition.
- Venue shift: The first phase of this year's tournament will be played in UAE, as the government has refused to ensure security for IPL during the general elections. The shift in venue is also likely to squeeze revenues.
Image: Fans with a message for Kings XI Punjab co-owner Preity Zinta during IPL 6.