IPL is a crash commercialization attempt of India’s mass hysteria with cricket. The staggering valuation of the city based teams and then the players show how much the investors estimate the potential worth, primarily in Ad revenue, of this market. They however miss a simple fact.
Indian’s love to watch cricket only when their national team is playing. Any measure of television viewers for a match not involving their national teams is abysmally lower in comparison. Take a look at how many people attend the Ranji matches and Duleep trophy, they all play to empty stadiums!
Recently ICL launched a very similar venture with city based teams and with star players to boot like Brian Lara. Based on all reports, ICL was a failure. I can say for myself that I didn’t watch even a single match, didn’t feel any empathy for any teams including Kolkata team.
IPL, which is a copy in concept of ICL, is treading similar grounds and is most likely to be a disaster. I know I am not going to watch any of the matches. As far as I am concerned it is a joke, albeit a very expensive one for the likes of SRK & Co.
PS. I think Sourav Ganguly has shown his sharp mind in the auction and build up a great team. My best on the winner would be Sourav’s team, considering he is the best Indian Captain and with a bone to pick with the likes of Dhoni & Rahul.
Update: I have been proven wrong on both counts. IPL, first edition was a success by all measure, more so because of the involvement of filmstars like Saharukh Khan, Juhi Chawla as well as the immense appetite of Indian audiences with any kind of cricket. The stage is now set for professional leagues like USA.
I also overestimated the capability and intelligence of Sourav Ganguli. His leadership and batting in IPL was nothing to write home about.