The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is planning to host a grand opening ceremony for the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
IPL, the cash-rich league, is known for its glitz, glamour and high octane filled T20 matches. From the time of its inception, the league has attracted big cricketing stars and celebrities from around the world. Known for its gala affair it is kicked off by a starry opening ceremony which is held a day ahead of the first encounter of the season.
Going in its 11th edition, the IPL opening ceremony which was earlier scheduled for April 6 has been postponed to April 7, the day tournament begins.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) official told Indian Express, that the opening ceremony has been rescheduled by the orders of Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA). The venue has also been changed from the Cricket Club of India (CCI) to Wankhede Stadium as reportedly the budget has been reduced by as much as Rs 20 crore.
The tournament begins on April 7 at Wankhede Stadium with the first match slated between defending champions Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings. The opening ceremony will be held before the start of the match.
“Earlier the opening ceremony was scheduled for April 6 at the Cricket Club of India. Now it has been decided by the CoA that it will happen on April 7 at Wankhede before the 2018 IPL opener,” a BCCI official told Indian Express.
The BCCI official also revealed that there was a call to reduce the budget by Rs 20 crore and that too was taken by the CoA.
“Earlier the budget for the opening ceremony was Rs 50 crore (approved by the IPL governing council), now it has been reduced to Rs 30 crore. This call, too, has been taken by the CoA,” he said.
However, no change has been made in the schedule for the rest of the tournament. The final, as scheduled earlier, will be played on May 27 at the Wankhede.
BCCI wants to attract more audience for the ceremony
In the 10th season of the IPL, eight separate opening ceremonies were held before the first home match of each franchise. An IPL governing council member argued that hosting opening ceremony separately attracts more audience and it gives BCCI opportunity to monetize the event.
“We thought of hosting a gala event with a concert. In the past, we have seen that if it happens at the ground, there is no connect with fans. If held elsewhere, we thought we could attract more audience. That was the idea behind having a separate event,” an IPL governing council member said.