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Due to the impending Lok Sabha elections in the summer of 2019, the twelfth edition of the IPL could well be moved out of India if the dates are to clash with the General elections.
Speaking to the Hindustan Times, the IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla reckoned that the board is waiting for the announcement of the dates for the Lok Sabha elections, after which a decision would be taken.
“If the dates of the general elections clash with those of the Indian Premier League, then the tournament will be held outside the country. But as of now, we are waiting for the dates to decide on how to go ahead with the scheduling,”
This is not the first time that the BCCI is planning to stage the Indian Premier League out of India. Back in 2009, due to the General elections the IPL, which was in its second season, was staged in South Africa. The tournament was a hugely successful affair with Deccan Chargers pipping RCB in a pulsating finale. Five years later in 2014, the first half of the lucrative league was staged in the United Arab Emirates.
Speaking of the potential options to host the marquee event in case it has to be shifted out of the country, Shukla said
“The experience of hosting the IPL in the UAE was brilliant and that option is definitely there. But another option could be South Africa. Like I said before, the call will be taken keeping in mind the general elections and its dates.”
The Indian Premier League is the most valued property of Indian cricket. Ahead of the 2018 season, the official broadcaster Star Sports shelled out a barely believable Rs 16,347 crore to acquire the global media rights for a period of five years. The opening game of the 2018 edition between Chennai Super Kings and the Mumbai Indians saw a whopping 37 per cent increase in television viewership prior to the previous seasons.
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The tournament’s finale which was staged between eventual champions Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad clocked 55.6 million impressions on television across urban and rural markets, a 41 per cent rise from 2017 season; underlining its popularity and global reach.