Cricket: IPL's indefinite suspension to cost $370m, says senior Indian cricket official

The powerful Indian cricket board could lose about $NZ370 million in revenue, after its lucrative and star-studded Indian Premier League (IPL) was halted by the COVID-19 crisis in that country.

The world's richest Twenty20 league was near its halfway stage, when bubble breaches in two venues saw it suspended indefinitely.

"The ballpark figure for revenue loss would be to the tune of 2000 crore rupees [$NZ27 billion]," says Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) treasurer Arun Singh Dhumal tells Reuters.

"Given all our contractual obligations, we are yet to find out what would be the actual figure," he says, adding that the governing body's immediate priority was to ensure the league's foreign players return home safely.

The eight-team IPL, with celebrity owners among the great and the good of business and Bollywood, attracts the biggest names in world cricket to a nation devoted to the sport.

Players include the likes of India captain Virat Kohli, England all-rounder Ben Stokes and Australian batsman Steve Smith.

STAR Sports holds a five-year contract for the IPL's television and digital rights for 163.48 billion rupees - about 545 million rupees per game in a 60-match season.

With only 29 games of 60 completed before the competition halted, the BCCI could lose up to half that pot.

"You get paid for what you deliver," says Thomas Abraham, co-founder of SportzPower, a company that monitors sports business in India.

STAR Sports supported the decision to suspend the league, but its officials were not available to discuss the financial implications when contacted by Reuters.

Indian cricket bosses hope to resume the league in late September, but that appears a tough challenge, given the COVID-19 infection risks involved in a country hit hard by the pandemic.