IPL 2020 is officially on and it is just the boost that the cricket calendar needed. There is a lot that rides on the IPL. Yes, you know about the broadcasters, the players, the franchises, and even the fans. But what about the many peripheral businesses that depend on it?
There is a multi-billion dollar legal betting industry that waits for the IPL every single season. You may know that betting is illegal inside India but there is no law banning people from betting online.
In fact, there are very popular lotteries that run the world over which can be accessed right from India thanks to websites such as PlayHugeLottos or Lottoland. Hundreds of thousands of Indians participate in these lotteries and win money.
The real prize, though, is cricket betting. The IPL generates more revenue for the legal online betting industry than all other T20 Leagues combined.
There are other businesses as well which are directly dependent on a successful IPL. Take for example apparel makers that have bought the right to make IPL team jerseys. They literally cannot make any return on their investment unless the IPL takes place.
This year the IPL is going to be held in the UAE which will take away some of the local boost to the economy that a tournament of this magnitude provides. There will no fans flocking to the stadiums, no vendors at the ground making money, no taxis ferrying people to the ground, and no hotels bring booked by the teams.
All of that will happen in the UAE.
In India, the restaurants and bars see a boost in their earnings when the IPL is on. People like to go out and sit at sports bars while watching the match. They also love to order-in and celebrate their team’s success or mourn their losses with their friends.
Is that going to be possible with the COVID-19 pandemic swirling around?
No one can say for sure but it is safe to say that it is going to be hard to stop people from enjoying their favorite tournament after a very long time.
2020 has been a tough year for everyone. Businesses have suffered, people have been prevented from carrying out their normal lives, and hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives. Cricket is very small in front of these disasters and the IPL even smaller.
However, the joy that Indians and cricket fans around the world derive when the biggest carnival of cricket rolls around is difficult to quantify. A number of small and big businesses that have nothing to do directly with cricket or the IPL will be hoping that IPL 2020 is the biggest one yet.