IPL opening ceremonies have always been part of the tournament since its inception in 2008. Celebrities like Salman Khan, Pitbull, Akon, Shah Rukh Khan, Shriya Saran and Katrina Kaif have all performed in these opening ceremonies.
Shahrukh Khan performing in IPL opening ceremony, Photo: AFP
Since 2019, however, there have been no opening ceremonies to kick off the IPL.
In 2019, the IPL Governing Council and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) decided to skip the event and hand over the funds to families of the CRPF jawans killed in Pulwama on February 14, 2019.
But even in 2020, when the tournament kick-started in late September 2020 in Dubai, there was no opening ceremony.
In 2021, there was no opening ceremony because of the Covid pandemic.
Now, there won’t be any opening ceremony this year either. The 15th edition of the tournament will start without any big stars kicking off IPL 2022.
Why did the BCCI decide to skip the IPL opening ceremony this year too?
Over the years, the opening ceremonies of IPL hardly gained any interest from fans. Though big celebrities from across the globe were called in to perform on the opening evening, fans were hardly interested in the show.
BCCI President Sourav Ganguly. Photo: Getty Images
Another big reason why the BCCI let go of the IPL opening ceremony is a huge investment, of around Rs 30 crore, with hardly any returns. The BCCI found the expenditure a big burden, and that the return on this investment was not feasible.
AND OF COURSE, THE PANDEMIC
The last two years of IPL have taken place in the shadow of Covid. In 2020, the tournament started late in September. In 2021, the tournament had to be stalled in the middle when the second wave had started. The tournament was then resumed after six months, in September.
In 2022 too, the BCCI is keeping it low because there are predictions of a fourth wave in India.
The IPL 2022 tournament starts on March 26, 2022. The first match of the tournament will be played between last year’s winner Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and runner-up team Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium. This time, two new teams, Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) and Gujarat Titans have also been included in the tournament.
Each team will play 14 matches in their league matches. There will be a total of 74 matches in the tournament. The final will be played on May 29, 2022. Due to Covid protocols, the tournament will be played at only four stadiums in Mumbai and Pune.