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IPL 2020: Why UAE the favourite destination?

Shubham Sharma

Dealing with global challenges, World's biggest Cricket Professional League IPL is all set to entertain the crowd once again. Indian Premier League is going to begin in UAE from September 19 to November 8 subject to government approval. The country has been chosen after looking thoroughly between the probable options of Sri Lanka and New Zealand.
This is not the first time that the Gulf country is going to witness such a big tournament. This is despite the fact that UAE is not a permanent and an associate member of ICC. From IPL 2014 to Pakistan's alternate venue since the domestic venue ban, UAE has always served at the time of need. What makes UAE comparable to premier venues? Let's have a look.

Suitability for franchise

UAE is the host to the majority of business ventures. Also, various franchises have their partner ventures situated in Dubai. This makes it easy for the teams in terms of accommodation and stay. Moreover, there are least chances for commercial loses if the franchise is at ease for housing and lodging facilities. This also provides a safer option for the stay and the players can prepare themselves according to the schedule. For instance, Mumbai Indians' have a partnership with JW Mariott Hotel Groups. The team management has started holding talks for the players' and staff accommodation in the hotels of the partner company in Dubai.

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Feasible playing facilities

UAE has 3 cricket stadiums, all of which are as per international parameters and have hosted international cricket matches before as well. These are Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium and Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium. ICC Cricket Academy is also located in the Sports City which includes 38 wickets within two grounds. Moreover, indoor practice facilities are also available in the stadium. The academy is most probably to be hired for the practice session of the teams. Dubai International Stadium has 9 wickets alone and can be used to conduct more matches in a shorter time span. The biggest relief is that all the 3 stadiums are located within a terrestrial travelling distance of 1-2 hours. Travelling through buses is a much safer option in COVID times. Thus, there is no need for players to board a flight after every match.

Huge fanbase

UAE is home to around 3,50,000 Indian nationals. These constitute around 27% of the total population of the country. Moreover, an internal survey has shown that around 69% of the population loves to watch cricket. Stadiums have witnessed housefull matches earlier as well. Thus, the chances of revenue loss in case less viewership occurs are null.

Corona on decline

UAE is currently observing around 300 COVID cases per day. This is far less as compared to around India's 40000 cases/day. Also, only around 6500 deaths due to corona have occurred in UAE till Joe, much less than India's 21000. UAE has also lifted travel restrictions and 14-day quarantine rule. Gyms, hotels, clubs, etc.are running with 25-40% of customers. So, there are high chances that matches will be organised with around 20-40% of spectators. This will again, lead to revenue recoveries of franchises.

The other side

However, there are still some hurdles in the way. The Air Bubble, that is a safe flight operation is to be made between the UAE aviation department and the countries from where the player hails. Also, the transfer of logistics is a major challenge. Moreover, there are chances that some countries may not give their consent to the players for travelling keeping in view the increasing cases. South African Government is expressing hesitant behaviour in providing NOC. If the countries won't allow players to play, then teams with players from these countries will suffer.

However, beating all odds, UAE will once again set the stage on fire and will bring recreation and relief within the corona haunted audience.

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