The BCCI would decide which team goes where and a few options are being mulled.
Speaking on condition of anonymity given the sensitive nature of the issue, a source at Mumbai Indians told HT here on Wednesday that moving out of the Wankhede would severely impact the team. “The kind of support we get there can’t be replicated elsewhere and that, to my mind, would be the biggest setback.”
Officially, a Rising Pune Supergiants’ (RPS) spokesperson said the team wouldn’t like to comment on a matter that is sub-judice. A source at the debutants though said that, in a lot of ways, moving to a yet unknown venue would also be like starting over.
“It’s also like getting two venues ready instead of one. The branding that we did, our team promos all focused on iconic locations in Pune for obvious reasons,” said the source.
Speaking separately, the representative of Mumbai Indians concurred. “Mumbai Indians spent around R4 crore to deck up the Wankhede. We also used it to engage activity in the social media. This will have to be done from scratch at a yet unknown venue,” said the source.
Not playing at home till April 22, Rising Pune Supergiants don’t have a figure on gate receipts. Mumbai Indians do and the two-time champions make around R7 crore per season through ticket sales, said the source. “Not just that, at Wankhede, Mumbai Indians know what to price tickets at: for instance, if we sell tickets for R4000 each at one part of the stadium, we know there will be takers. Now, we have no idea. And there is no guarantee that we would get the pricing right, the first time.”
There are logistics issues as well. “For three games that will move out of Mumbai, we will have to spend a yet unknown amount on security. In Mumbai, we know what the cost of getting the police to provide security is. Now, we don’t. We use the private security agency that the BCCI does and then, most importantly, we can use Reliance’s security system. Playing in Mumbai also means we can use the Reliance network in the way we can’t elsewhere,” said the source.
The RPS source HT spoke to didn’t give figures but said financially they too would be hit hard. “Not only do we have branding issues, things like hotel deals, flight tickets etc will have to be reworked. The hotel, for instance, gave us a deal assuming we would stay a certain number of days. Now, they would be within their right to ask us to pay more if we are vacating early.”
Speaking to HT earlier, RPS owner Sanjiv Goenka had said he was happy with the work of his marketing team. That team will have start from scratch again, it seems.