IPL franchises will continue to bear losses due to the lack of fans in the stadium in 2021. After being initially confident about having fans in the stadium, BCCI has decided to go ahead with the entire tournament behind closed doors. Brijesh Patel told Inside Sport that there would be no fans for any game this season including the knockout rounds of the tournament.
This is the second season in a row for IPL to be staged behind closed doors. IPL 2020 was also played in front of empty stands in the UAE. The 14th edition of the tournament will return to India, but fans will have to watch their fans on the digital screens. Along with fans, this is a big financial blow for all eight franchises. The seven home games help franchisees to earn a significant amount throughout the campaign.
India’s recent test matches against England were played with 50% crowd capacity in Chennai and Ahmedabad, but IPL 2021 is unlikely to witness a similar situation. BCCI president Sourav Ganguly told India Today that having crowds for bilateral series and entire IPL tournament is a completely different ball game. He insisted that fans are likely to be closer to IPL teams, so the governing council decided to have the tournament behind closed doors.
— IndiaToday (@IndiaToday) March 8, 2021
There is going to be a financial loss due to the lack of fans in the stadium. However, the abrupt suspension of PSL due to coronavirus cases amongst players showed that having fans in the stadium during T-20 leagues comes at a big risk. IPL 2020 was organised smoothly behind closed doors, so the governing body might have decided to stick with the same formula due to the recent spike in covid cases across the country.
After weeks of speculation, IPL’s governing council released the schedule for the tournament on Sunday. The entire tournament will take place across six cities and no franchise will be playing in their home stadium. The first game is set to take place between defending champions Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore in Chennai on April 9.