Two-Phase IPL: Let’s think Unthinkable

  • Thoughts about the two-phase IPL
  • Assessing business and scheduling challenges
  • An impact on the teams

Thanks to COVID, the 2021 season of IPL is set to be completed in two phases. We took to Reddit to know if fans think about making it a norm in all the upcoming editions, considering the addition of new teams and elongation of the tournament. Roughly 80% of Redditors were critical of this idea and many pointed out some really genuine issues with it. But we must acknowledge the natural human tendency to resist any kind of change. So, We tried to find out the possibility of having a two-phase IPL realistically.

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Two-Phase IPL: Possible Impact

In every sport, momentum is very crucial for teams to continue with it to do well in any league. Giving a few months’ gaps in between a tournament may potentially break the winning momentum of multiple teams. Importantly, let us assess both sides of the coin here. The teams on a winning spree will of course be vulnerable to loss of form in the second phase but on the flip side, teams going through bad times will get a chance to regroup and turn their fortunes around in the next phase. Take the 2021 season, for example. it is very much possible for DC and KKR to switch souls in the gap period.

Moreover, the two-phase IPL also gives opportunities to introduce the concept of mid-season transfers, replacements, or similar ideas. To us – the fans, the idea certainly feels great w.r.t entertainment and competition.

Money Matters: The Crucial Stakeholder

At the end of the day, IPL is a business and it needs advertisers and sponsors to function. The two-phase IPL will open up opportunities to split the advertising opportunities and enhance the revenue model. For example, the summer phase can be a perfect time for beverage brands to advertise while the second phase is in the festive season may attract advertisers from the Auto and apparel sectors. It’s likely that the second phase will fetch greater sums because of Playoff and Final games. Thinking from the BCCI’s perspective, the two-phase IPL shall be more lucrative as far as money matters are concerned.

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Two-phase IPL: Scheduling Permutations & Combinations

Considering how big the IPL and BCCI are, finding a way to organize the showpiece event won’t be big trouble. But still, there are quite a few challenges, outside the BCCI’s control. For example, Every now and then there will be big test series during the Australian summer including the Ashes, Border-Gavastkat Trophy, and likes. They usually start in the last week of November and continue till the first week of January, including the traditional Boxing Day test match at MCG. It will be hard to alter their schedules, owing to the weather and other parameters. However, this particular challenge can be addressed by franchisees making their squad more diverse to accommodate the absence.

Weather & Pollution

The extreme cold during peak winters especially in North India isn’t really ideal for cricket. When the mercury drops down to single-digit, it increases the chances of players picking up an injury. Additionally, excessive moisture can make it really hard to bowl or even bat sometimes.

In Delhi and Mohali, the PM2.5 level hovers over 250 during these months, and visibility because of smog is usually not great. The famous SLvIND test that was interrupted due to pollution is a classic example to understand how big this issue is.

Conclusion

Accounting for the factors assessed above, the second phase scheduling in October month seems a real possibility. In fact, the combination of late Jan – early Feb is not bad too. For that to happen though, the summer phase can be played in the North part of the country whereas the winter one can be in the south. Especially considering the pleasant atmosphere in both parts during the respective months.

Leaving more brainstorming for the BCCI, this is @mihrpsah signing off once again.

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