BCCI scraps IPL opening ceremony, calls it ‘waste of money’


The Indian Premier League has reportedly decided to scrap opening ceremonies from the next season, calling them a ‘waste of money’. The Bollywood-style extravaganza, which has reportedly cost the board close to Rs 30 crore in the past, will not longer take place from IPL 2020, as it was decided by the IPL governing council meeting on Monday, the Indian Express reported.

A BCCI official told the newspaper: “The opening ceremonies are a waste of money. The cricket fans don’t seem to be interested, and the performers have to be paid a lot.”

The opening ceremonies have taken place before the start of the cricket league in every season since 2008, except for last year, when the funds were used to aide the families of soldiers who lost their lives in Pulwama terror attacks. In the past, performers like Katy Perry, Akon, Pit Bull, Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif among many others have performed at the opening ceremony of the tournament.

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In a move to relieve the on-field umpires from spotting a no-ball, the IPL Governing Council (GC) also has decided to introduce a dedicated no-ball umpire over and above the third and fourth umpire in the next edition of IPL. “If we have the technology, we must make use of it. So there will be a separate umpire for no balls,” an IPL Governing Council member said.

The idea could be tried in domestic competition in the lead up to the IPL and the move could also potentially provide another sponsorship opportunity for the League like time-outs and third umpire referrals.

The first IPL GC meeting after Sourav Ganguly took charge of BCCI also marked a notable softening of the Board’s stance towards franchise interests. Franchisees interested in playing friendlies abroad to promote their brand will be allowed to do so. “Friendlies will be allowed. As it is, we are playing just two months. After that we don’t have any activity. We have to look to popularise the game,” the member added.

“The idea is to have brand promotions in new markets. This does not involve the main players who may be busy playing international cricket, but even the presence of the team’s legends will help execute the idea,” said a franchise official.