Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Indian Premier League

The IPL has generated some heat and dust over the last few weeks starting from the auction of the teams to the players to debates on farmers (our usual barometer for comparing everything). Two articles which I found very good were one by Swapan Dasgupta in TOI and one by Ramesh Ramanathan in Mint.

Swapan writes a very good piece, but it is the ending that really takes the cake - What matters is that cricket now belongs to India. He couldnt have said it better. Cricket now belongs to India - cricketing superpower - regardless of how our national team performs (give or take a few) - if you want to come to the pinnacle of cricketing frenzy, come to India. It was apparent a few years back itself when Kingfisher sponsored the West Indies cricket tour, when a manufacturer got nearly the entire Australian team to endorse a product (perhaps cheaper than some star endorsers in the Indian team itself). Also, apparent is how the stadia are usually plastered with ads from India in almost any series. It is good for cricket, very good. Wait till you see the jerseys, the caps, the other thousands of licensed products that come in the market on the back of IPL. Chartered tours for the IPL season - why not?

The effect on other sports is debatable and we can debate on this till the cows come home. PHL - the hockey league - is another areas where we can make the sport belong to India - and perhaps we will - but with the IPL shining so brightly, it will be tough to create another sun. I hope that PHL does better in a small way atleast, for the sake of hockey.

IPL I believe has the ability to be better than the English football league or even the basketball leagues in India. Surely in India, IPL is going to be big, really big. IPL will unleash something that Ranji was never able to do - and the crucial difference? Marketing. Ranji matches typically are played only to dozing security guards, crows and a few bored fans. But in any case, IPL will add bling to domestic cricket - I only hope it does not marginalize Ranji further - perhaps a shake up and a marketing blitz is in order for Ranji too.

The other piece is by Ramesh Ramanathan in Mint - where he asks a great question. Why cant Sharad Pawar, the big daddy of BCCI, do for agriculture that he did for IPL. Splendid.

1 comment:

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