The virus-hit Indian Premier League (IPL), due to commence March 29, was postponed indefinitely by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) with its latest commence date in limbo following the uncertainty in new tournament window. Despite the halt and doubts, a recent study suggests that nearly 60% fans are hopeful for the IPL season to happen this year.
In a survey conducted by MyTeam11, which involved 10,000 people, found that fans predict sport, including cricket, will return soon. However, the events will be played behind closed doors as sporting venues will continue to be empty for a long time. At the time of writing, there are more than 42,000 people infected in India with over 1,000 fatalities from the deadly virus.
“83% of the poll takers pitched in to say that sports might get rolling again by the end of the year 2020 while nearly 40% will not feel comfortable attending sports events anytime before the year 2021. The pandemic has affected people greatly and they are unwilling to put their safety at stake,” the company said in a press release.
Speaking about IPL, the result stated, “60% of the people believe IPL might be organised during some other available window”. This shows fans are eagerly waiting for the tournament to be held. “Nearly 40 people of the poll takers believe that it might not happen this year. On the other hand, 13 percent of the people believe that it should be organised in empty stadiums during the June-July window.”
Although the BCCI President Sourav Ganguly was pessimistic about the start date of the IPL, telling press that there will be no cricket in India in the near future”, franchise officials are hopeful in its return this year, with current head coach of Kolkata Knight Riders, McCullum reckons that IPL will be played in October with ICC T20 World Cup getting pushed back to 2021.
“I think the IPL will try and target that October window and the T20 World Cup will get pushed back,” McCullum said in a podcast. “That may mean the Women’s World Cup gets pushed back but hopefully we get to see all three tournaments operate.” McCullum believes that neither the T20 World Cup happening without the stadium fans nor does teams from 16 nations will be able to travel to Australia.
Another recent analysis by BARC suggests that the IPL viewership share on television reduced to just 2% this year from 20% last year. It also suggests that these viewers are probably spending time watching replay matches of the Twenty20 cricket tournament. According to reports, the IPL has boosted TV viewership despite competition from online games, video-on-demand platforms and YouTube
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