Since its inception, the Indian Premier League (IPL) has been the centre piece of the Indian cricketing calendar while also being a huge financial asset to the BCCI and its stakeholders. From the inaugural season in 2008, the IPL has built a loyal and increasingly global fanbase and is, without a doubt, the biggest and most lucrative T20 league in the world.
It is not a surprise, then, that the BCCI has put the IPL at the top of its priorities list and has forced the board to execute some astonishing management projects to ensure that the tournament goes on in spite of any obstacle.
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This inclination of the authorities towards the cash-rich league might seem logical and obvious. But it has started to make some significant hindrances in the way of other more regional and low-revenue generating tournaments. There has also been a lack of eagerness to host other tournaments, as was the case with the Ranji Trophy last year, and the issue of un-received payments to domestic players and umpires and coaches remains.
There are special arrangements and meetings done on immediate notice to come up with different solutions for the IPL to go on, while domestic tournaments and players live in despair and insecurity. This problem, small in the eyes of the BCCI, could escalate and cause the board bigger hassles in the coming years due to the lack of opportunity and revenue on the first-class circuit.
The power and grit that the BCCI shows in order to conduct the IPL annually, by going above and beyond and by cancelling and manipulating other T20 leagues or even ICC tournaments, is starting to slowly create a cloud of negativity around the IPL. This approach also raises the question: where does the BCCI stand in a debate over capitalism vs running a sport?