Mumbai: From airline strikes to terror attacks, the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) is leaving nothing to chance as it hosts its first international match in more than two years.
The seventh one-day international between India and Australia at the DY Patil Sports Academy ground, Navi Mumbai, on Wednesday will have insurance cover even against the death of a national leader or a failure of floodlights that may lead to the match’s cancellation.
“The insurance cover includes public liability insurance in case of a bomb explosion at the venue or a possible terrorist attack in and around the vicinity where the match is being played, collapse of the stadium, disability or loss of life caused to any spectator during the match, stampede and lathicharge,” said a senior MCA official, who didn’t want to be named. MCA has insured the match for Rs8 crore, added the same official.
It’s the first time that a cricket association is insuring a match against cancellation owing to such a diverse array of reasons. The match will be covered against cancellation even due to a “civil commotion” or fights erupting between groups of rival supporters. Reena Bhatnagar, deputy general manager (Mumbai region) for the state-owned Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd, which is providing the cover, confirmed that the state-owned insurer was providing the cover, but refused to disclose the premium MCA had paid for the protection.
Cricket match policies are called “one ball bowled” policies and lapse after even one ball is bowled in a match.
Mumbai was witness to a horrific terrorist attack on 26 November last year, which resulted in the cancellation of two matches of an India-England cricket series and another series of international club matches for which the city was one of the hosts.
Hosting an international match is the biggest revenue earner for a state cricket association. Apart from the money it receives from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the association earns revenue from ticket sales, in-stadia advertising and sales of corporate hospitality boxes.
There are at least 23 cities in India that can host a one-day international that typically draws the maximum crowds.
BCCI has a rotation policy, which means that a city is lucky to get to host one match in 18 months, depending on how the Indian cricket team’s calendar is skewed towards home matches.
This is the first one-day international that the 60,000-capacity DY Patil stadium is hosting although it has been the venue for the Indian Premier League (IPL) clashes. The Wankhede stadium, the traditional Mumbai ground for international matches, is being refurbished for the 2011 cricket World Cup.
While BCCI gets insurance cover for players and the broadcaster, especially against injuries and on overseas trips, it’s the organizing state cricket association that arranges for insurance against match cancellation.
“We just schedule the matches. The rest is the state’s (association) lookout,” said N. Srinivasan, secretary of BCCI.
BCCI lost Rs120 crore due to the cancellation of two matches in the India-England series last year. “The rising instance of airline staff going on strike could affect the availability of players and other match officials, which could delay or affect the match proceedings. Hence we have an insurance cover against that,” added the MCA official cited in the first instance.
In September, some pilots of Jet Airways (India) Ltd struck work, disrupting at least 1,280 flights over five days.
The other new cover is against failure of the floodlights, given the frequent power outages in suburban Mumbai.
The organizers of an IPL domestic Twenty20 (T20) match in Kolkata were embarrassed by a similar problem in May 2008. Play was halted for 31 minutes in a match between the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Deccan Chargers because floodlights in two of the four towers went out.
In the recent past, Oriental Insurance has provided cover for the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) T20 World Cup account. The state-owned insurer was providing cover to all matches. The insurer also provided the broadcaster for ICC T20 World Cup, ESPN India, cover for loss of revenues due to match cancellations. The television channel was provided insurance to the tune of Rs148 crore.
Oriental’s Bhatnagar said that other state associations got insurance ranging from Rs5-8 crore, while BCCI has taken a Rs60 crore cover for the whole seven-match series in favour of broadcaster Nimbus Communications Ltd.
The series has brought back viewers in droves, especially television audiences, with viewership ratings among the highest in recent times. But with Australia already clinching the series by winning the sixth match in Guwahati on Sunday, it remains to be seen whether the last match will attract a similar crowd in Mumbai.