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IPL 2020 can become a world reference, highlights Uday Shankar | Cricket news

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MUMBAI: Uday Shankar, President of Star India and the man working to bring the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League to viewers in India and around the world, says that “even before a single ball has been thrown, this it has already become the most unique IPL. ”
Shankar spoke to TOI about the stakes as the league gears up for action amid a pandemic.
Excerpts
What was the last four or five months about?
Here we were, ready for an intense, very high-quality IPL in March and suddenly the BCCI informed us that the tournament was not possible. Obviously, there were clear reasons for this. People’s lives were more important and live sport was no exception. But it was also frustrating.
When did you first realize that IPL would be possible?
We had some confidence that, given the slightest opportunity, the IPL would occur. That the BCCI had to cancel it for obvious reasons was the right thing to do, but they were also committed to making it happen. We realized that it would take place after the monsoon. The only question was whether it would be played in India or abroad.
How important is it that this IPL happens?
There are literally very few assets that move an entire country like IPL. At a time when the country has been dominated by worries, fears, apprehensions, and people have spent time locked up at home, something as important to their lives as the IPL has returned, which is highly symbolic and truly unique.
The stakes are high too …
IPL is India’s only global brand and one of the world’s leading sports properties. The fact that BCCI and we are very committed to making this happen within a safety bubble is a great source of relief and I am grateful to the Board.
Star has been working on her own biosecurity bubble …
Delivering an exciting IPL while keeping all crew and crew members totally safe from the pandemic remains our top priority. It is not easy because there are no global models for something like this.
IPL has been played outside of India twice (2009, 2014), but this is different …
The protocol we have designed for this IPL can become a global benchmark for any tournament to take place safely. We will do so in three stadiums with over 700 crew members and around 90 commentators who will be working in the UAE, India and around the world to operate under Covid-related SOPs for 60-75 days. There will be a biosecurity bubble in Mumbai to involve more than 400 employees on six floors of the production plant. Rigorous testing protocols for all staff involving pre-assessment, testing prior to entry, and periodic testing during stay.
That is a great responsibility …
The responsibility lies with us to assume this responsibility. Every year is a professional commitment, but this year’s IPL is professional and personal. In the end, it is a virus and anything can happen, but we would like to do our best.
What is the audience scale you are seeing?
I can only hope the audience is bigger than ever. There will be seven fully customized streaming broadcasts in all languages ​​and 18 hours of live and special programming. We expect the TV audience of more than 550 million in India through live streaming and beyond live programming and streaming to be distributed in more than 100 countries.

Times of India

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