All is not well in IPL it seems. Yes the first week which has just finished yesterday is proving the first phrase wrong but somehow underneath something – somewhere is missing. The social media is keenly following the matches; advertisement rates are still sky high for the IPL yet it is not the same like it was for its first three or four editions. May be the Midas touch of Lalit Modi is missing? How differently he would have handled the question of Sri Lankan players not allowed to play in Chennai? All the franchises have plenty to stake for maybe because of that they are just keeping silent. IPL was made for television audiences and still it is but it is observed that once the tournament enters in its final leg and before the ‘Playoffs’ start it gets a ‘viewer fatigue’.
When the IPL got started in the year 2007 it was called a mixture of Cricket and Bollywood. For the next few seasons, when it came to earning money Bollywood took a step backwards by not releasing important movies when IPL is going on. This is the sixth edition of the IPL and Bollywood is releasing big films every week. This shows that after the initial vigor Indian public have now decided to maintain choices between cricket and Bollywood and not going full gung-ho for the former. March and April are the months when Indian kids are enjoying their summer vacations. During these days Bollywood used to release many big movies. But when IPL came into the picture it seemed that IPL has stolen this earning season from the Bollywood industry. But slowly because of ‘viewer fatigue’ now both Bollywood and IPL have equal chance to earn the money.
One can easily feel that the hype is definitely over now. People used to watch all the matches played in the tournament for 45 days but not anymore. Not all the matches but they do watch the matches interest them the most. The format for me is too long. They have taken a cue from the EPL which runs for so many days. But the difference is that English soccer team does not play international Friendly much, whereas all the cricket playing countries play international matches almost every day now. So the freshness is no more. It was exciting to watch Ponting and Ganguly playing together or Sachin and Pollard are sharing one single team or Dhoni leading Michael Hussey but not anymore. Now even Bangladesh has a premier league along with Australia’s Big Bash so such leagues are also becoming common for the viewers. Even these leagues are getting broadcasted world over.
This 45 day long schedule is not only tiresome for the players but also for the viewers as well. Even World Cup of T20Is lasts for just two weeks then how come a domestic tournament like IPL lasting for 45 days and can still attract the interest for all these 45 days? It is next to possible now. Again I admit that the enthusiasm was there when the IPL got started in 2007 but now it is losing interest once first and second week gets over and at least two or three teams in the fray already have the writing on the wall. From first season itself we have witnessed that at least two teams loses so many matches in the first two weeks of the tournament itself that their presence in the tournament bears no relevance. They keep on losing their remaining matches and win a few at the end of the tournament because there is nothing to lose. 9 teams are fine but if they apply the format of distributing teams in two or more pools like how ICC T20 play or even Champions League play I am sure the IPL will be recharged. This format will also help IPL to last for at least a month if not 20 days.
I feel in coming years The IPL bosses will have to take note of this. The tournament is played for the TV audiences but without them will it be possible for the IPL to earn huge money?