Pepsi gets a boost as UAE & Bangladesh join race to host IPL

Mumbai Indians celebrate after defeating Chennai Super Kings in the IPL-6 final. (BCCI Photo)

New Delhi: When Indian Premier League (IPL) chairman Ranjib Biswal and BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel spoke to the media on the sidelines of the players’ auction in Bangalore, they had made it clear that South Africa was favourite to host the IPL even if it is held in two parts.

But on Friday it was revealed that UAE and Bangladesh were back in the hunt and South Africa will be hosts only if the whole tournament goes out of the country.

While franchises weren’t too keen on having the IPL in the UAE — thanks to past instances of fixing there — it is no secret that title sponsor Pepsi is the market leader in the Middle East and holds a solid position in the Bangladesh market as well, unlike their not-so-popular image in South Africa.

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Add to that the fact that franchises will no longer lose revenue to the extent of 40-50 per cent — as estimated if the tournament is moved to South Africa — and the picture is clear as to why two more countries were shortlisted to host IPL-VII. At the end of the IPL governing council in Bhubaneswar on Friday, rather than naming a venue, the council brought Bangladesh and the UAE back in the race to host the cash-rich league.

“We have decided that if elections end by May 15, we will hold the IPL in two parts. The first part will be held in Bangladesh or UAE and the second part in India. And as of now, we are still sure that the IPL will indeed be held in two parts as that is the preferred option for franchises as well as sponsors as we are expecting the election will end by May 13. Once the election is over, security shouldn’t be an issue.”

“But if the IPL does go outside India for its whole duration, it will be played in South Africa. Coming back from the Rainbow Nation isn’t a very clever option having already spent a lot on moving the tournament there,” an official told MAIL TODAY.

Meanwhile, even as everybody was busy congratulating BCCI president N. Srinivasan as he is set to become the ICC chairman, M.P. Pandove — former BCCI treasurer — questioned the former on India’s poor performance in the last two series overseas.

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