IPL needs to be a touch shorter
Seven weeks later and finally one can now say that the end is in sight. Whilst I enjoy working on the Indian Premier League and have particularly been thrilled by how close so many matches have been this year, I reckon that the tournament needs to be shorter so as to better maintain everybody’s attention and also so that the matches do not morph into each other.
I think that it is difficult to ensure that people stay fully interested in the tournament with it being so long. For us who are working on it, it is easy enough as we are very close to it and that is pretty much all that is going on, so we put our heads down and get on with it.
In the case of television viewers all around the world, some may just end up waiting for the games at the business end of the league stage, the qualifiers and final, as those have consequential outcomes.
It is different in India though, and I have been made all too aware of that by the way that the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad was packed out for Deccan Chargers’ final two matches.
Despite the fact that the Chargers were long out of contention for a spot in the next phase of the competition, their fans still turned out in large numbers to see them and were absolutely ecstatic when they managed two victories on the trot against two teams who were in need of victory to have a chance of getting through to the qualifiers.
Naturally, one starts asking oneself questions as to whether one is looking at the tournament in slightly the wrong way. Is excitement or enjoyment derived from the fact that places in the qualifiers (and ultimately, the final) are at stake, or is the entertainment value of each game – regardless of its significance for the playoffs stage – being savoured?
I can quite honestly say that the crowds at the various stadia suggest that the fans have retained their enthusiasm for the tournament throughout, and as it enters the final stage, there is heightened anticipation. So, in India itself there is absolutely no trouble keeping the flame going, so to speak, but one wonders if there is the same zeal for and attraction to the product on television here as there was when it started.
There is no doubt that the advertising money over many days of live cricket is huge and so from that perspective, my expectation is that it will continue to be a long tournament turning over crazy sums of money in commercials revenue.
However, I reckon it may be a good idea to try and find a balance between making a whole lot of cash and not having the competition drag on for as long as it does.
How many people feel the same way? Some may be quite happy that it is very long as they have a game of cricket to watch each day.