The Indian Premier League and COVID-19: From Success to Failure in a Self-Regulating Sports Organization During a Crisis Situation


The Indian Premier League (IPL) is one of the world’s most prestigious and lucrative annual professional Twenty20 (T20) cricket tournaments. Its organizers responded to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 by conducting a safe, successful event. They failed to do the same in 2021. In 2020, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the IPL Governing Council (IPL GC) relocated the tournament from India to the less pandemic-affected United Arab Emirates (UAE), then moved it back to India in 2021. For both tournaments, they imposed similar safety protocols including bio-bubbles and followed mandated rules and regulations. During the 2021 tournament, however, the virus breached the bio-bubbles, infecting several players and other participants. Almost halfway through, the BCCI decided there was no option but to postpone it. The case brings to the fore the challenges self-regulating organizations face when managing competing goals. It asks students to consider whether the failure came from structural attributes specific to the BCCI/IPL or a combination of multiple factors. In addition, the case increases understanding of the importance of regulatory agencies. Further, the case highlights the factors that determine the success or failure of crisis management processes an organization.

This case was prepared for inclusion in SAGE Business Cases primarily as a basis for classroom discussion or self-study, and is not meant to illustrate either effective or ineffective management styles. Nothing herein shall be deemed to be an endorsement of any kind. This case is for scholarly, educational, or personal use only within your university, and cannot be forwarded outside the university or used for other commercial purposes.

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