IPL January 30, 2010

The British summer pastime that is the IPL

 
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The IPL will go where no Twenty20 cricket has gone before: into the British consciousness © AFP
 

So the IPL will be available to British viewers on YouTube. Like a Sreesanth celebration jig, this is both cheering and yet at the same time a little unsettling. Last year, I watched the IPL on Setanta, that yellow-hued disaster zone masquerading as a sports channel. Sadly, Setanta, with its plastic studio, nervous presenters and no-thrills approach is no longer with us. So that’s a step forward.

But YouTube? YouTube is fine if you want to watch homemade videos on how to eat crisps, trailers for films you aren’t interested in and grainy, wobbly footage of computer games playing on someone else’s television, but is this really the setting for live sport? If several million people access it once, will it cope? Will IPL watchers be forced to put up with five minute buffering pauses between the delivery of Munaf’s slower ball and its arrival?

Still, you can’t fault the logic behind this attempt to ensure that everyone on the planet gets to see a little bit of the IPL. I don’t often quote Lalit Modi and I may never have cause to do it again, but this sentence is worth repeating.

“It is about broadening the fan base, after that, everything follows.”

Now read that again, slowly and let the full wisdom sink in. Pay particularly close attention if you work for the ECB and you spend most of your time trying to persuade people of the absolute necessity of keeping English cricket hidden away where most people can’t see it. Fan base. Broadening. Get it? Perhaps this is why the IPL is a global television event, whereas the Friends Provident T20 (stop chuckling, please, there really is such a thing) isn’t.

Of course, this cutting out of the studio-based middle man will not go down well in some quarters. One of the features of YouTube is the opportunity for free and largely uncensored expression that exists beneath each uploaded video. Perhaps we might start to see unsolicited cyber outbursts from disgruntled SKY microphone jockeys who had hoped to land the IPL presenting gig:

DGowerOBE: LOL, did u see that shot? ROTFL! If that shot was a wine, it‘d B like a really ordinary Chateauneuf de Pap. MayB a 1997 or a 1986!
Athers185notout: No it wouldn’t
DGowerOBE: Ur jus disagreeing 4 the sake of it
Athers185notout: No I’m not
Nass1999: Leave it guys
DGowerOBE: It’s got nuthin to do wit U, big nose
TheBumble: This IPL is Gr8!
Athers185notout: No it’s not
DGowerOBE: It’s pants. Isn’t it, Bob
MrBobWillis: Since all human endeavour is essentially pointless, I would have to say that this entire tournament has been an utter disaster from start to finish and I’ve hated every minute of it, quite frankly.

But whether it is on YouTube, Sky, The Shopping Channel, or even beamed directly through our dental fillings via Lalit Modi’s personal satellite, the IPL has become as essential to the British springtime as the smell of ripe manure, the Cheltenham Festival, scattered snow showers, the optimistic deployment of three-quarter length shorts and coming up with plausible reasons why the lawn cannot be mowed. Roll on March 12th.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Demarlo on November 10, 2012, 16:49 GMT

    You raelly saved my skin with this information. Thanks!

  • SR Kannan on February 3, 2010, 8:10 GMT

    It's all about increasing the fan base and making sport reachable to make it popular. I'm right now following 3 different matches on cricinfo commentary as I multi-task at work and there are millions I know doing just that. So, cricket today is not about TV alone. Fan bases increase when they get to interact with something live and exciting happening and let's be frank, sports commentators as a breed aren't a very smart lot. That's where fan views in cricinfo and on youtube would make all the difference. As for the speeds and bandwidth, technology will sort itself out on that one on the internet. It's time the TV moguls are made to sweat a bit! Notwithstanding the Brit bias for anything non-Brit, IPL has revolutionised cricket and even in a cricket crazy country like India, I would say that Modi has taken cricket to a level, that it's no longer Tendulkar dependent for viewership, and that folks is saying something. Modi deserves a Nobel for cricket if there were one!

  • Vikas on February 2, 2010, 21:25 GMT

    Be on the look out for the Matches in Dharmashala Stadium. Thats the most beautiful place to build a stadium. With Mammoth White snow capped mountains on the backdrop , people can see India beyond Cricket and IPL

  • Dave on February 2, 2010, 13:20 GMT

    I'm with Sam... IPL is lame.

  • firey1 on February 2, 2010, 7:36 GMT

    IPL is rubbish where ever you watch it.

  • Abhay Sharma on February 2, 2010, 4:14 GMT

    So what is BBC going to do this time? Block ALL IP's streaming these matches or hold UK employers accountable for letting any of their employees watch or talk IPL :)

  • Abhay Sharma on February 2, 2010, 4:12 GMT

    @Sam, Who are you kidding!!! IPL has a huge fan-base in UK. I am in the US and during IPL2, I was in touch with my friends in the UK and Germany. They had huge groups watching the games together. They also lamented the self-imposed blackout by BBC regarding IPL. As far as I know, they are very excited about IPL3 as well and are looking forward to watch it on youtube, for free, of course. The sheer size and intensity of these games cannot be matched with any other cricketing extravaganza elsewhere. England had its pathetic attempt (read Stanford) at T20 with WestIndies and BBC did hype it a lot. Everyone knows what happened. If you enjoy cricket, you'll love it. You don't have to tell anyone you watched it. Afterall its on the internet and you can just huddle behind a screen and enjoy :)

  • Jigar Mehta on February 1, 2010, 11:53 GMT

    @Sam, such a loser you are. There is no domestic tournament in this whole world to even come close to IPL the buzz and the intensity everyone gets is unreal. KP's and Freddie's are running for it, have you ever heard of a reasonable cricketer dying to play for your stupid english county cricket. if you can't stand the prosperity of cricket than you better stop following it. Anyway a very good article by Andrew.

  • dhchdhUK on January 31, 2010, 15:37 GMT

    Cant wait to watch IPL for free!!!!! Saw it last year & the year before..awesome.Beats any domestic tournament handsdown

  • Sam on January 31, 2010, 14:17 GMT

    In UK who wants to watch IPL ?? the answer is NO ONE.

    we have got our own strong domestic cricket and our intl X1 to follow, why would we watch IPL of local indians with some out dated and 3rd class international tes player...so better stick to indian viewer and leave us alone cuz we aint interested

  • Demarlo on November 10, 2012, 16:49 GMT

    You raelly saved my skin with this information. Thanks!

  • SR Kannan on February 3, 2010, 8:10 GMT

    It's all about increasing the fan base and making sport reachable to make it popular. I'm right now following 3 different matches on cricinfo commentary as I multi-task at work and there are millions I know doing just that. So, cricket today is not about TV alone. Fan bases increase when they get to interact with something live and exciting happening and let's be frank, sports commentators as a breed aren't a very smart lot. That's where fan views in cricinfo and on youtube would make all the difference. As for the speeds and bandwidth, technology will sort itself out on that one on the internet. It's time the TV moguls are made to sweat a bit! Notwithstanding the Brit bias for anything non-Brit, IPL has revolutionised cricket and even in a cricket crazy country like India, I would say that Modi has taken cricket to a level, that it's no longer Tendulkar dependent for viewership, and that folks is saying something. Modi deserves a Nobel for cricket if there were one!

  • Vikas on February 2, 2010, 21:25 GMT

    Be on the look out for the Matches in Dharmashala Stadium. Thats the most beautiful place to build a stadium. With Mammoth White snow capped mountains on the backdrop , people can see India beyond Cricket and IPL

  • Dave on February 2, 2010, 13:20 GMT

    I'm with Sam... IPL is lame.

  • firey1 on February 2, 2010, 7:36 GMT

    IPL is rubbish where ever you watch it.

  • Abhay Sharma on February 2, 2010, 4:14 GMT

    So what is BBC going to do this time? Block ALL IP's streaming these matches or hold UK employers accountable for letting any of their employees watch or talk IPL :)

  • Abhay Sharma on February 2, 2010, 4:12 GMT

    @Sam, Who are you kidding!!! IPL has a huge fan-base in UK. I am in the US and during IPL2, I was in touch with my friends in the UK and Germany. They had huge groups watching the games together. They also lamented the self-imposed blackout by BBC regarding IPL. As far as I know, they are very excited about IPL3 as well and are looking forward to watch it on youtube, for free, of course. The sheer size and intensity of these games cannot be matched with any other cricketing extravaganza elsewhere. England had its pathetic attempt (read Stanford) at T20 with WestIndies and BBC did hype it a lot. Everyone knows what happened. If you enjoy cricket, you'll love it. You don't have to tell anyone you watched it. Afterall its on the internet and you can just huddle behind a screen and enjoy :)

  • Jigar Mehta on February 1, 2010, 11:53 GMT

    @Sam, such a loser you are. There is no domestic tournament in this whole world to even come close to IPL the buzz and the intensity everyone gets is unreal. KP's and Freddie's are running for it, have you ever heard of a reasonable cricketer dying to play for your stupid english county cricket. if you can't stand the prosperity of cricket than you better stop following it. Anyway a very good article by Andrew.

  • dhchdhUK on January 31, 2010, 15:37 GMT

    Cant wait to watch IPL for free!!!!! Saw it last year & the year before..awesome.Beats any domestic tournament handsdown

  • Sam on January 31, 2010, 14:17 GMT

    In UK who wants to watch IPL ?? the answer is NO ONE.

    we have got our own strong domestic cricket and our intl X1 to follow, why would we watch IPL of local indians with some out dated and 3rd class international tes player...so better stick to indian viewer and leave us alone cuz we aint interested

  • shaleen on January 31, 2010, 13:23 GMT

    Is there any way to watch UK youtube in US? I don't want to pay for domestic tournaments :)

  • CHANDU RAJGURU on January 31, 2010, 13:13 GMT

    Dear sir, I never thought people get paid for talking rubbish.

  • vivek on January 31, 2010, 9:58 GMT

    Friends Provident T20? Ha! Actually, what makes me chuckle is that there really is such a thing!

  • Dev on January 31, 2010, 8:46 GMT

    I hope the brits are not smoking marijuana...

    If youtube is not the right setting for sports then what else can be...? Are there any better infrastructure than Google to handle the bandwidth?

  • Vp on January 31, 2010, 6:07 GMT

    Does cricket really need to expand it's fanbase in the UK? Or Australia? The one country where cricket should be shown for free in order to increase their customer base is the United States. Guess which country gets blocked out of the IPL? While we leech around for links to a webcam placed infront of somebody's tv, the rest of the world will enjoy the IPL. I thought Lalit Modi of all people had a brain.

  • yogesh pareek on January 31, 2010, 5:29 GMT

    Its better to have something ,than nothing...At least you can watch IPL matches.

  • haroon on January 31, 2010, 2:57 GMT

    Do u think it will be on in U.S too?

  • getgopi1 on January 31, 2010, 1:00 GMT

    Definitely one of the funniest Page 2 articles I've read on Cricinfo ;)

  • Dave on January 30, 2010, 21:13 GMT

    If youtube would present IPL to the US it would cricket would get even more exposure and there are plenty of expatriates that would love to watch. If the typical American see's how action packed 20/20 cricket is it may be better for the ICC in the long run.

  • Phantom on January 30, 2010, 17:51 GMT

    Amongst ECB's biggest blunder has been to sign away their soul to Sky by giving the full & exclusive right to every match they organise. This effectively bars them from taking opportunity available from other broadcasters & broadcasting medium. Another big blunder is the limiting of foreign players which was meant to help local talent flourish but is having completely opposite effect. Not only limiting of foreign players to 1 (except Kolpak) is making the game less attractive to general pulic but also reduce the quality of cricket that players should be expected to experience at that level. There are 18 counties for gods sake so limiting to 4 (inc. Kolpak) wouldn't restrict the local pool after all you need only 11 players at international level. The enormous success & popularity of IPL stems from the fact that great & good of foreign talents i.e. Warne, Gilchrist, McCallum, Murali, Hayden etc. (the list goes on) as well as the great Indian line up all trying and giving their best.

  • PK on January 30, 2010, 17:32 GMT

    Is this available in US as well ?. IPL is an interesting event and would like to follow it live.

  • Ankit Upadhyay on January 30, 2010, 17:18 GMT

    I think it's a great idea of watching a game for free whereever you are !!! and middle man on the sofa of sky - doesn't worth £25 for the sky's subscription !!!! put it this way, people don't like change that isn't delivered by themselves and hence the people doesn't like IPL's new changes (sometime good and sometime not) but accept that they have changed the game for sure !!!

    Google will have enough bandwidth regionally and they can surely cope with it. If they can't then no one can.

    MAIN thing is that it will be free to watch - come on who's gonna argue with that !!!!!!

  • Steve on January 30, 2010, 16:55 GMT

    I don't see how anyone could argue this as a bad thing at all. I can't watch cricket at home because it's always on Sky, which I haven't got and don't want to pay the ridiculous costs for. I can't honestly see why the ECB hasn't realised why cricket is so unpopular in England; it's expensive to watch be that live or on telly.

  • Afla Toon on January 30, 2010, 16:48 GMT

    Jeez boy, couldnt make out what you were trying to say. All I could figure out is that you were trying to be funny. The first commandment of cricinfo is thou shall not diss ipl. The sooner brits get this, the better it is for their morale.

  • Varaha Anupoju on January 30, 2010, 15:17 GMT

    I was a regular member of Willow.tv for last two IPLs and may more cricket events and was getting bufferred during the match even though i was using a super speed computer with very high speed band width and that was a paid broadcasting. We will wait and see how You Tube's transmission would be and after all its a free live telecast. We dont know what is the deal behind you tube and IPL.

  • mohammad on January 30, 2010, 14:19 GMT

    i always like technology

  • Alex on January 30, 2010, 14:14 GMT

    Brilliant. Especially Bob Willis. Though I must say that I can't see the point of watching live sport on a computer, it's just nowhere near the same as watching it on a television. I hope ESPN UK pick up the rights now, don't they broadcast it everywhere else anyway? Andrew can't you pull some strings with your employer??

  • bonaku on January 30, 2010, 9:37 GMT

    I think, youtube will provied efficient bandwidth. But i am more worried about advertisements in btw overs. Let us see. After all it is free to watch... may be we have to put up with that.

  • Rishabh on January 30, 2010, 8:45 GMT

    Youtube matches also allow for downloads...

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Rishabh on January 30, 2010, 8:45 GMT

    Youtube matches also allow for downloads...

  • bonaku on January 30, 2010, 9:37 GMT

    I think, youtube will provied efficient bandwidth. But i am more worried about advertisements in btw overs. Let us see. After all it is free to watch... may be we have to put up with that.

  • Alex on January 30, 2010, 14:14 GMT

    Brilliant. Especially Bob Willis. Though I must say that I can't see the point of watching live sport on a computer, it's just nowhere near the same as watching it on a television. I hope ESPN UK pick up the rights now, don't they broadcast it everywhere else anyway? Andrew can't you pull some strings with your employer??

  • mohammad on January 30, 2010, 14:19 GMT

    i always like technology

  • Varaha Anupoju on January 30, 2010, 15:17 GMT

    I was a regular member of Willow.tv for last two IPLs and may more cricket events and was getting bufferred during the match even though i was using a super speed computer with very high speed band width and that was a paid broadcasting. We will wait and see how You Tube's transmission would be and after all its a free live telecast. We dont know what is the deal behind you tube and IPL.

  • Afla Toon on January 30, 2010, 16:48 GMT

    Jeez boy, couldnt make out what you were trying to say. All I could figure out is that you were trying to be funny. The first commandment of cricinfo is thou shall not diss ipl. The sooner brits get this, the better it is for their morale.

  • Steve on January 30, 2010, 16:55 GMT

    I don't see how anyone could argue this as a bad thing at all. I can't watch cricket at home because it's always on Sky, which I haven't got and don't want to pay the ridiculous costs for. I can't honestly see why the ECB hasn't realised why cricket is so unpopular in England; it's expensive to watch be that live or on telly.

  • Ankit Upadhyay on January 30, 2010, 17:18 GMT

    I think it's a great idea of watching a game for free whereever you are !!! and middle man on the sofa of sky - doesn't worth £25 for the sky's subscription !!!! put it this way, people don't like change that isn't delivered by themselves and hence the people doesn't like IPL's new changes (sometime good and sometime not) but accept that they have changed the game for sure !!!

    Google will have enough bandwidth regionally and they can surely cope with it. If they can't then no one can.

    MAIN thing is that it will be free to watch - come on who's gonna argue with that !!!!!!

  • PK on January 30, 2010, 17:32 GMT

    Is this available in US as well ?. IPL is an interesting event and would like to follow it live.

  • Phantom on January 30, 2010, 17:51 GMT

    Amongst ECB's biggest blunder has been to sign away their soul to Sky by giving the full & exclusive right to every match they organise. This effectively bars them from taking opportunity available from other broadcasters & broadcasting medium. Another big blunder is the limiting of foreign players which was meant to help local talent flourish but is having completely opposite effect. Not only limiting of foreign players to 1 (except Kolpak) is making the game less attractive to general pulic but also reduce the quality of cricket that players should be expected to experience at that level. There are 18 counties for gods sake so limiting to 4 (inc. Kolpak) wouldn't restrict the local pool after all you need only 11 players at international level. The enormous success & popularity of IPL stems from the fact that great & good of foreign talents i.e. Warne, Gilchrist, McCallum, Murali, Hayden etc. (the list goes on) as well as the great Indian line up all trying and giving their best.