IPL 2020 : Star India’s Uday Shankar on IPL 2020, “We are preparing, but IPL only if atmosphere is safe”

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One of the most important stakeholder in the Indian Premier League (IPL) eco-system, Star India has finally spoken on IPL 2020. Uday Shankar, president, The Walt Disney Company (Asia Pacific) and chairman, Star & Disney India has declared that teams are preparing internally for the IPL 2020. But, he cleared that IPL 2020 should only happen if the atmosphere is safe for the world’s biggest and most lucrative cricket league. Shankar shared his views during the The Indian Express E Adda on Tuesday.

Star India Chairman : “We are preparing for IPL but it should only happen if atmosphere is safe”

During the talk, Star India Chairman was asked on the possibility of conducting the IPL this season.

Shankar said it is “important that people get the IPL experience for the love of cricket and signalling that life triumphs”. The cricket board was forced to indefinitely postpone the IPL, which was to begin in March, because of the pandemic and the nationwide lockdown. “Internally, we are discussing and planning (about IPL) but we also wouldn’t want the tournament to be held unless the atmosphere is safe,” Shankar said.

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Star & Disney India Chairman Uday Shankar on the Chinese Sponsors, advertisers issue

Amid the anti-China sentiment, there is huge pressure on BCCI to withdraw themselves from the Chinese sponsors. KingsXI Punjab owner Ness Wadia also issued a statement saying that IPL 2020 should move out of the Chinese sponsors. On the online show, Star India’s Chairman was asked on his take on the issue. According to Shankar, Broadcasters will have to “figure out a different monetization model” if the current anti-China sentiment persists in the country.

Star India holds the IPL broadcasting rights and in the markets impacted by Covid19, already it is tough to monetize such a costly rights. Now with the Anti-China sentiment, Shankar was asked how the IPL monetization will be impacted if there is a boycott of Chinese firms and products in India, Shankar said: “If company X or Y is not there because in larger social or national interest it has been decided (to ban them), then we will have to figure out a different monetization model.”

“We believe cricket has a power and that power comes from the depth of engagement it has with Indian consumers. If people like something so passionately, there will be people willing to back it financially,” he said.

Shankar said the Covid pandemic and the China issue present an “unprecedented mix of storm and crisis”. “Rationality is not the default mode for anyone at this time. This is totally unprecedented. Probably there are other ways and better ways of handling this, frankly, because it doesn’t help anyone, it doesn’t help resolve the tension,”

No Clue about the IPL Governing Council meeting on the issue
Meanwhile BCCI which was suppose to conduct the IPL Governing Council meeting on the Chinese sponsors issue still has not met. On 19th June, BCCI had posted on IPL’s twitter handle that “BCCI will review the Chinese Sponsorships and will soon call a meeting of the IPL Governing Council next week to discuss the issue”. More than 2 weeks have passed since than and no one in the IPL GC has a clue on the said meeting.

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