The 11th edition of Board of Control for Cricket in India's Indian Premier League (IPL) was set to have a grand opening ceremony, involving a "leading pop star" but the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) seems to have thwarted the governing council's plans.
The CoA, which was appointed by the apex court to oversee the operation of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), has rejected a proposed budget of Rs 50 crore for the opening ceremony, which was originally scheduled for April 6, a day ahead of the opening match between defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK), at the Brabourne Stadium.
Former CAG Vinod Rai-headed CoA has instead asked the IPL governing council to cut down the budget for the opening ceremony to Rs 30 crore and have it on the day of the opener at Wankhede Stadium, according to The New Indian Express. The decision was taken to prevent fans from paying a separate gate fee for the opening ceremony.
The matter is set to be taken up at the governing council before arriving at a final decision, according to a top official working on the IPL.
"Last season, because it was the 10th edition, the IPL had opening ceremonies in all eight centers. This time, we planned only a grand one, featuring a leading pop star. Though CoA has not said no, it has asked us to reduce the budget and host it at Wankhede on April 7," the official said, as quoted by the newspaper report.
Why opening ceremony at a different venue?
In the previous years, IPL opening ceremonies were held a day before the opening match and was attended by captains of all eight franchises. In 2017, the 10th edition of the league had eight opening ceremonies, once each on the eve of all eight teams' first home game.
There is a lot of hype around the upcoming edition of the IPL, given the returns of two of the most popular franchises -- CSK and Rajasthan Royals following the end of their two-year suspensions. The rivalries are expected to be intense as quite a few big names had switched teams at the mega-auction held in Bengaluru on February 27 and 28.
Meanwhile, an IPL governing council member argued the opening ceremony was planned to be held at the Brabourne Stadium to "attract more audience". The BCCI was also hoping to sell separate tickets, hoping 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," a governing council member said.