Amid the busy preparation of teams with less than a month away before the tournament commence, franchises have proposed to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) the idea of allowing off-season matches outside India. This request was revealed just a couple of day after BCCI announced the full schedule for this year’s IPL.
According to a media outlet, IPL franchises like Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rajasthan Royals have asked the BCCI to allow them play abroad during the off-season. Although there is no confirmation from the governing board yet, this proposal might be one of the topics to discuss during the upcoming general meeting.
“Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Rajasthan Royals — they’ve all shown interest in playing abroad during the off-season (when IPL is not on). The BCCI refuses to even take it up officially, despite the GC discussing it in the recent past,” per the reports.
Since its inaugural season in 2008, IPL gained popularity not only in India but around the globe as it attracted a huge number of cricket fans and boost the popularity of cricket as a sport. Traditionally, IPL teams can only play the annual Indian cash-rich tournament after the Champions League T20 that was scrapped due to lack of audience and sponsor interest.
In the same report, one of the franchise owners highlighted the benefits of playing IPL matches abroad during the off-season as it can be a way to gain more popularity in non-cricketing nations. “Why not further the business plan and help franchises become international brands? It’s a win-win,” a franchise executive said according to sources.
It is not the first time that the franchises requested for a permission to play off-season games abroad. BCCI, however, remains silent about this proposal for some undisclosed reasons. Technically, BCCI gets a 20% share of whatever the franchises earn during the period of the tournament and whatever the franchise would get overseas will ultimately add to the earnings of the governing body.
“It will only help the IPL grow outside of India, especially in USA, Canada, Singapore and other non-cricketing countries. We can understand that playing in full-member countries is not possible, but why not otherwise?” another owner said. The 13th season of Indian Premier League (IPL) will kick off on March 29.
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