Kolkata Knight Riders team owner Shah Rukh Khan is upset that a large chunk of this year's Indian Premier League is going to be played on foreign soil. The Board of Control for Cricket in India is all set to name an overseas venue on Wednesday as this year's tournament is clashing with the general elections. The IPL is scheduled between April 9 and June 3.
The Union Home ministry has declined to offer security to the IPL organisers due to the Lok Sabha polls. One among South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and Bangladesh could host matches. South Africa had hosted the IPL in 2009 when BCCI was forced to move the tournament due to elections.
On Tuesday, Bollywood star Shah Rukh told NDTV in an exclusive chat: "I don't know if it is South Africa or UAE as yet... politically incorrect thing is to say that in India, we should be able handle elections and sporting events also. But it is nice to say that IPL is so big and the elections are so big that both big things can't clash due to security and if the home ministry feels like that, then it is fantastic."
"It is all right wherever it is, though if it is in Kolkata, you can't beat Kolkata. I am not saying this because it is my city, genuinely. I have been all around the world, I have seen the World Cups, rock concerts, but nothing to beat what happens in the Eden Gardens. So you (will) miss that...hope that they plan in such a way that most of our matches are at the Eden Gardens," Shah Rukh said.
More than sentimental reasons, moving matches out of India could mean huge financial losses for franchises. With several team owners wanting IPL to remain in India purely due to commercial reasons, the BCCI is expected to offer a 'compromise' formula to offset losses.
According to information available in the media, IPL team franchises are against matches moving out of India. If half of the IPL games are moved overseas, each of the eight IPL team could lose as much as Rs 50 crore, most of which will be gate receipts. A financial daily quotes a top Delhi Daredevil official who says that his team will lose 40% revenue if 50% of the matches are played abroad. A franchise spends around Rs 60 crore purely as fees to players. Gate receipts (ticket sales) make up for at least 35% of a team's overall revenue. (Also read: IPL matches will be transparent)
When in India, IPL matches are played on a home-and-away basis. Every team plays at least seven games at its 'home' ground or a venue of its choice. Surveys reveal that the Delhi government made at least Rs 96 crore from direct and indirect taxes from six games last year. Daredevils team owners fear that if matches are played in South Africa, the fun of watching your 'own' team will be totally lost. It effectively means there will be no 'home' support and the turnouts will be unpredictable. It will directly impact sale of food, merchandise and put off a host of local sponsors.
A cola company, which has bought the title rights of the IPL by paying a massive 800 crore for five years, is also against the tournament moving abroad. IPL chairman Ranjib Biswal has apparently promised "a good package" that will neutralize losses. BCCI makes its biggest profit from the IPL. Last year it had a surplus of Rs 360 crore. In 2012, the surplus was 152.9 crore. Most IPL teams usually break even after meeting all their costs.