Posted by: nestaquin | April 1, 2008

Indian Imposter League

The month of April is upon us and with it approaches the embroided and jejune Indian Premier League. This chronically artificial competition concocted primarily to fill the already overflowing coffers of the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) has in the six months since its creation caused chaos, dissent and uncertainty throughout the elite levels of the cricketing world.

While one more meaningless competition is one too many, several disgruntled capitalists upset that they were excluded from the T20 honeypot, set up their own rebel league, the Indian Cricket League. The rebel league, now in its final throes, has hardly set the cricket world alight, with the overpaid and in some instances over-aged and overweight participants mostly playing to empty stadiums with empty hearts on sleeve.

The money invested by the franchise owners and the media moguls is no doubt expected to be recouped with interest and after perusing the sums involved and researching sports history it seems an exercise in delusion. Packer lost millions with World Series Cricket just as many before him lost their neatly pressed linen shirts reaching back 150 years.

There is a finite amount of money spent on cricket the world over and it would seem that the entrepreneurs in India must be conjurers of the highest order to expect a return on their investment.

There is much that excites about a franchised league with all-star teams but I must admit that the hyperbole has left me unconvinced. Honestly, it appears desperate. Before a ball has been bowled there is speculation of a transcontinental global league, the death of Test cricket, the end of loyalty to nation and a demand that a window be created in the cricketing calendar to accommodate a competition that is still in the womb.

For once, I agree with the ICC. It is best to wait and play a straight bat. This competition could be broke and busted within three seasons and it would seem folly to upend the entire cricketing schedule for a competition that is yet to prove itself.

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Responses

  1. Not what happened in England though.

    After a huge amount of market research, the ECB identified what would make the vast numbers of people who are interested in cricket, but not interested enough to attend, pitch up on the gate. Shorter matches, evenings, non-stop action, spectacle is what they wanted: and exactly these people are packing the grounds! New, additional money through giving an audience what it wants.

    Many may not like it, but T20 is here to stay in England because it “does what it says on the tin”.

  2. I have no doubt about the popularity of T20 cricket. What I question is the ability of the owners of the IPL franchises to recoup their investment.

    The economics of the competition are high-risk however the BCCI should be congratulated for their business acumen in collecting so much cash and having the eight franchisees handle the exposure.

    Most cricket competitions throughout the world are played between what are basically community organisations not American-style franchises. I’m not saying outright that it won’t work but I think there is little wrong with waiting and allowing the IPL to prove itself.

    I understand that the English are nervous about the IPL because of the money offered and the clash with county schedules. That is understandable but there is no need for haste, yet.

    A much maligned proverb states, “May you live in interesting times”, well we do Toots, if it is a blessing or a curse only time will tell.

  3. I’m 70:30 on it being a blessing. Taking the IPL along with what Stanford is doing in the West Indies, kids will see cricket as a path to riches and will be much less likely to turn to other sports.

    But it is “interesting” as you say.


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