28 April 2008

IPL and why it's not the future

Whilst the world's press and broadcasters have been covering IPL and its impact closely we've been ignoring it at Cricket Burble, able as we are as amateurs to wait until we've got some evidence.

Kerry Packer took cricket to a new dimension largely by mimicking existing teams and formats.

As Mark Saggers is quoted as saying, however, on cricinfo's quote unquote 'What makes sport is the identity of supporters. These are exhibition matches, whatever anyone says. If you are into sport you want real winners and losers. Filling the boots of cricketers to whack it...it's great fun but it can't be seen to take over the cricket world, surely?'

What we have is team mates playing against (and allegedly slapping) each other and confused about their identities - why would any spectator care about who wins. And if you don't care you stop going.

Graham Onions quoted elsewhere also summed it up 'If I went to play in the IPL I would not be in an actual team'. May I be among the first to predict that it will all fizzle out..........and some of the franchisees are saying they need 10 years revenue to recoup their investments.

Despite being of an age where one is expected to be a traditionalist I'd be slightly saddened about that but nowhere near as upset as I would be if the attempt to make 20/20 as popular globally as football leads to the players behaving like footballers. Thanks heavens they've decided to use The Spirit of Cricket and ICC rules in the IPL so that the slapper should get due punishment.


Ed said...

While I'm completely in agreement with you - I don't care about watching games unless I care about the result - I wonder if the Indian public feel the same. When I was in India this time last year they played cricket on every possible street and alley and it wouldn't surprise me if they wanted to watch any cricket, whoever plays - the under 19 World Cup was a big event for them I think for example.

I just saw the last 30 of Gilchrist's innings and I have to say I stopped to watch it for 5 minutes, despite having plenty of work to be getting on with.

My main concern with the IPL and other tournaments that will follow it and run alongside is that the number of fixtures is too large to maintain interest - the World Cup was criticised for the same thing.

I would also question the financial viability of the current set up, but I don't know enough about the finances of each franchise to know if they have their heads screwed on. It wouldn't surprise me if some of the owners aren't bothered about losing money - it's more about the prestige with the Indian media and public.

Anonymous said...

I agree wholeheartedly with the need to maintain behaviour on the pitch (and, of course, in the crowd), but I have to disagree that no-one cares or that people aren't trying.

I decided to give the IPL a go, so plucked for a team before it started - Kolkata Knight Riders - and have just got Setanta Sports on Freeview to watch as much as possible. Having watched a few games, I'm now really into it. Whilst it is not like supporting my beloved Yorkshire or the even the second best team in the country - England - it is at least cricket on the TV.

What I have seen is a group of players taking it very seriously. Brett Lee bowled more aggressively and effectively for the King's XI against Mumbai Indians than he did for Australia against England at the Gabba. Shane Warne to Andrew Symonds and vice-versa was also a highlight. The fans are also clearly loving it thanks to some well priced tickets bringing in large crowds - they appear to be going wild.

I really hope that they do an English version. I would support a London side and could actually go and watch them - something I struggle to do with Yorkshire. I would like to see them use football stadiums with drop-in pitches for the duration of the events (all outside the football season), getting better crowds to the games. This should have the twin effects of allowing more kids to get to the games and get excited about the game and bring in more money. If they then use that to fund county cricket (4-day) and grassroots cricket, ultimately there will be more kids playing at better facilities, giving England a better chance of fielding a quality side in the future.

If all this means some rich sponsors end up losing money - all the better!

Ed said...

I like the idea of using football stadiums where appropriate....not sure about the logistics but if it doubled the crowd size the financial gain would be massive....

I wish I had Sky or Setanta!

Anonymous said...

You can get Setanta through Freeview for £10 per month with no contract. I bought the box for 40 or 50 quid, and will probably cancel my subscription after the IPL is over. I'll then renew my subscription when more cricket comes on.

Be warned, though, that not all the cricket is on the Freeview version. Highlights are on most evenings, but because it is just Setanta Sports 1, the cricket gets bumped for the football sometimes (e.g. Saturday afternoons). It frustratingly doesn't start until 12 noon either, even though the Setanta Sports 1 that is available on Sky is 24hrs. Still, that is a trade-off for the lack of contract.

I am banking on paying a total of £130 over 3 years for a total of 18 weeks (150+ games of cricket / highlights).

Just to be clear, I am not on commission......!

Anonymous said...

If you can survive with a small picture for Setanta sports, getting it on the web for £8 a month is great . You get all the channels but the quality isn't great (watchable in a small window, full screen is average at best). Its also very practical for having on while working at the computer.