The deadly corona virus has affected 28 individuals in India, and the greatest concern, besides quarantining the patients and ensuring the outbreak is kept in check, is about the upcoming Indian Premier League. The grandest T20 extravaganza around the globe is much awaited every season as fans and players alike engage in friendly banters throughout the duration of the event.
Many sporting events across the world have been canceled due to the growing coronavirus threat. However, the Indian Premier League remains unaffected and will continue despite the concerns and this has been confirmed by the BCCI president Sourav Ganguly
However, ever since the first confirmed case of the disease was reported in India, fear and panic has soon spread with health experts questioning whether the IPL should be hosted. The tournament sees huge crowds gather match-after-match for 60 days - either in stadiums or fan parks - only adding to the fear. Thus far, over 3100 people have been killed by the disease while a further 92,000 people have tested positive around the globe. Besides ensuring sanitation, the primary rule of safeguarding yourself from the pandemic is to stay away from large gatherings as the highly contagious disease can easily spread from the infected in no time.
Thus far, the cases of corona virus have been reported in New Delhi, Noida (on the outskirts of New Delhi) and Bangalore. The two metropolitan cities will host the IPL games this year, and the scare is real. Not only are the spectators at risk of contracting the disease, top players from across the world are in direct danger. The threat has already forced the cricketers from England to forego the tradition of handshakes with the rival team after matches in their upcoming tour of Sri Lanka to minimize chances of contracting the virus.
Though the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President Sourav Ganguly has ruled out canceling the event, the question remains whether the financial loss that a no-show would entail supersedes the health hazards of a number of people, from cricketers, coaches, fans, volunteers and organizers.
A number of canceled events and the question marks over Tokyo 2020 Olympics
The corona virus, which had its epicentre in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has already spread to far off places in Europe and United States of America as well, leading to the cancellation of a number of sporting events, most of which were Qualifiers for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
The biggest sporting event this year, the Summer Games, too is in severe threat of getting postponed, or worse, canceled. The event, starting from July 24, has got the International Olympic Council (IOC) worried, with a final decision on the event to come in as late as May. Though the Japanese officials have added that they are confident that the Games will go ahead as planned, a senior IOC member stated that it might be too dangerous to hold the Olympics in Tokyo with over 11,000 athletes and over five lakh spectators from across the world expected to fly down to Japan for the gala.
If indeed the Olympics is canceled, it would be a crippling blow to Japan’s economy. The nation has shelled out USD 25 billion in building infrastructure for the event (excluding the amount spent to bid for the Olympics), more than seven times the original estimate. With the Japanese health ministry already warning of the dangers of hosting the Olympics, the impact is already being felt.
Around USD 3 billion has been paid by the country in sponsorship deals to organizers, a record amount, which will further hamper the economy. If, however, the Olympics are held, the tourism industry could be affected, with many expected to cancel their tour to the country in panic. The losses, then, will be immense.
The IPL too is a major money churning event, with broadcasters, franchises and sponsors investing huge sums in the event. If the IPL does get canceled, there will be huge losses exceeding hundreds of millions of dollars for everyone. Players will lose their golden salaries with the owners, who have already started spending on promotional deals, suffering financial losses as well if the event is to be canceled just 25 days before it is to get underway. They will lose the revenue coming in from stadium gate tickets as well, and the investors might be skeptic of putting their money on the IPL in the future.
Though the governing body is understandably against canceling the IPL, the situation in India will need to be extensively monitored, and should only be given the go-ahead if the threat of the virus seems to reduce in the next few weeks.