With coronavirus pandemic affecting almost every sports organisation, board or a club, sports behind closed door is being considered the best possible solution with Bundesliga all geared up to show the world on May 16. But for sport, spectators play an integral part of the team, sort of the 12th man for them. And hence keeping that in mind, Kolkata Knight Riders CEO Venky Mysore has come up with a unique solution to nullify the absence opf crowd for IPL behind-closed-door matches.
“Technology is going to play a massive role. I am just saying, if you’re thinking out of the box – an LED wall in stands where, through social media, [fans] can virtually be present there. There are people who’ll be reacting the same way if they were physically at the ground. People have said something about simulation too,” Venky said while talking to ESPNcricinfo.
Mysore also cited an example from American football and how visiting teams there gear up for away matches.
“I lived in the US for several years and became an American football fan. Home games and away games are big events there, because the crowd becomes your twelfth man. So what visiting teams used to do when they practised was blast the crowd noise on the speakers, just to get used it. The noise can be deafening in matches.”
He also expressed that he isn’t in favour of IPL without foreign players.
“Why [IPL] has caught the imagination of the country and the world is the quality of the product. The best of the best – this is the pinnacle,” Mysore said. “So I’m of the strong view that the format of the tournament should not be tinkered with. It should not be a glorified domestic tournament,” Venky Mysore asserted.
KKR CEO also suggested that the entire IPL can be held in Mumbai which has four stadiums while Pune is only two and a half hours away via road, a method they had followed in the 2014 season when part of the season was played in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah owing to Genaral Elections.
“We did this in the UAE – we played in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah. There were no flights, just buses that were taking players back and forth. If we were to think of something like that, the idea that was tossed around was what if you think of a city like Mumbai. There are already four grounds here if you include the Reliance Ground. And if you think about Pune, which is only two and a half hours away, you could easily contain the whole activity,” Mysore told ESPNcricinfo on the Stump Mic podcast.
“You can assign one hotel to each team, make sure each team has two buses, fully sanitised and proper distancing maintained. So the logistics of travel is completely removed – no airports, no flights. You reduce the risk to a level people feel comfortable and can live with it.”
“This is obviously based on the premise that things are under control and we get some kind of a blessing from the powers that be. I think it’s a doable model. And in this environment if we could pull it off, it would be fascinating, without touching the quality of the product that we’ve all so carefully built,” Venky concluded.
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