The Supreme Court observations and proposed solution of asking the BCCI Chief N.Srinivasan to resign and suspending two franchises Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals till further investigationhave dented the image of the brand IPL massively.
Marketers associated with teams’ on ground and on-air advertising feel that in case the two franchises are suspended, it would have an adverse impact on the commercial viability of the tournament. Since the matter is subjudice till today, all the marketers spoke on condition of anonymity, but it is well understood that the interim order which the court passes is highly awaited and critical decisions regarding associations will be taken post the order.
The apex court has given the board time till today to submit responses. GurunathMeyiappan, Chairman of CSK and son-in-law of the BCCI Chairman was allegedly involved in betting during the IPL last year. Three players of Rajasthan Royals and the owner of the franchise,Raj Kundra, were also reportedly involved in the fixing scam last year.
Furthermore, reported involvement of Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, has raised more eyebrows as stakeholders feel that there is a high probability of many more things likely to be revealed as investigations unfold. ShashankManohar, former BCCI president has even recommended the suspension of IPL this year, till investigations are completed and the faith of people is restored in the tournament.
The sense of scepticism over the future prevails with respect to the final decision of the tournament this year. With General Elections and the shift in the venue of the tournament, the sheen of the tournament is already fading as compared to earlier. Media planners and some marketers who have invested in IPL so far were optimistic that fixing and betting allegations are a thing of the past and people will watch IPL inspite of these developments.
But the idea of suspension of two franchises has put a question mark over optimism. CSK has been the winner twice in the IPL, while Rajasthan Royals has been the winner once. Both the teams command a substantial loyal fan base. Suspension of the two teams from the tournament will result in loss of viewership from the loyal fan base of both the franchises and loss of money for the board. The bigger picture is that the entire series of development has brought a bad name to the game of cricket in India and the BCCI. IPL is just a part of it.
All eyes are on the interim verdict to be passed today by the court.