Samir Chopra March 14, 2010

The IPL and fan loyalty

 
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Who says no one would ever care about teams whose name consisted of a pairing of an Indian city and some other noun? © AFP
 

The IPL attracts, as it should, given its prominence and importance in the world of cricket, a lot of commentary. Some critical, some adulatory. In the former dimension, one finds well-meaning worries about its influence on Test cricket, aesthetic discomfort at the crass commercialisation on display (and the prominence afforded to the grinning visage of Mr. Modi). In the latter, admiration for its delivery of an exciting assemblage of players, the broadening of the appeal of cricket, and an entertainment package neatly wrapped up for the post-work hours.

I've handed out my share of brickbats to the IPL. But I always found one particular line of criticism (or scepticism) directed at the IPL to be utterly baffling. That this strain has almost died down is adequate testimony to just how strange (and revelatory of an almost knee-jerk dismissive mindset) it always was.

For this scepticism about the IPL centered almost exclusively on expressing doubt about whether anyone in their right minds would ever care about teams whose name consisted of a pairing of an Indian city and some other noun. Our cricketing pundit would thus proclaim in a tone of almost pitch-perfect incredulity, "Who is going to care about some outfit called the Jaipur Whatchmacallits or the Rajasthan Rovers or the Landikotal Lotharios"?

What was the basis of this particular rhetorical pitch? As far as I could make out, it was the evocation of two moods: one, a sad post-colonial hangover that associated the names of Indian towns with distance, remoteness, a peripheral existence; the second, a faux-genteel distaste for the in-bad-taste excess of marketing mavens.

Has there ever been a more incoherent basis for scepticism? When I cast my eyes over the names of teams in the English Premier League or the National Basketball Association, I see teams named after English and American towns that very few could locate on a map, often paired with just as unlikely monikers.

The Utah Jazz? (Right, this makes sense, because when I think of Mormons, I think of jazz music). The Orlando Magic (Oh, I get the Disney reference; do you?) Is Aston Villa a city? Where is Fulham? I always thought Arsenal was the name of a quarter in Paris or a place where anarchists went to load up for the revolution. Turns out it's a club based in North London.

A good Vietnamese friend of mine always wore an Arsenal shirt when he could. He didn't know it was based in North London. I'm not sure he cared. He cared about the players that brought it glory. (In those days he obsessed about Thierry Henry). And in the end that's all that mattered to him. He had succumbed to the marketing, to the creation of a sustained fantasy.

Teams in professional leagues don't acquire auras or brand-value instantaneously. It takes them time, especially, if as in the case of the IPL, they start with a brand-new league as well. Very few teams have the privilege of tapping into a well-established league or an already created market (as in the case of NBA, NFL and MLB expansion teams).

That cricket pundits even imagined this was going to be a semi-coherent basis for dissing the IPL says a great deal about an entrenched mindset that prevailed then (and in some quarters even persists now). It's one thing to express a lack of personal interest (for instance, as I've been reared on international cricket I find it hard to be too invested in any particular IPL team). It's another thing to suggest that no loyal fan base could be built up over a period of time by such a well-marketed, lavishly promoted league.

This is the third season of the IPL. Whatever the particular strains of criticism that will be directed at the IPL this season, I'm pretty confident that the version I've mentioned above will be a fast-vanishing one.

Samir Chopra lives in Brooklyn and teaches Philosophy at the City University of New York. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Piyush Arya on April 10, 2010, 18:01 GMT

    Actually, the names are really more significant than they seem.. Mumbai Indians: Hey, the local party there can't tolerate anyone from India except the Marathi Manoos, hence, the Mumbai "Indians". Rajasthan Royals: 'We got no cash to buy players, so tell you what! I'll keep "Royals" in the team-name! Savvy?' KKR: As quoted above- wt* is a Knight Rider?? But hey, that's the extent to which the localites know English.. Chennai Super Kings: The most pathetic of them all! 'Punjab has used the name "Kings", so we'll go to SUPER KINGS! Yo!' Deccan Chargers, and the depiction of the bull: Pretty significant with Symonds, Gibbs and Gilchrist in the team.. The bowler goes charging out the park.. Delhi Daredevils: Ah, the "Double-D" ;) Can't find a fault with RCB and Kings XI, for they took the safe path by not inventing any names of their own! Copy-Paste baby!!! ;)

  • Vandey Matram on March 21, 2010, 12:55 GMT

    That IPL is spinning out $$$$$$$ has not gone well with most western commentrators. That the Indians came up with a successful league is even more humiliating. Goodness me, remember the English, Australians & Kiwis routinely refusing to play in India citing lack of good hotels, coining terms such as Delhi Belly etc in the 70s, 80s and early 90s now falling over each other to get a chance to acquire Delhi Belly. Sure the tide has turned....Now they have problems with the names, I mean c'mon accept the fact and move on. The other day I read a former English captain (clearly a has been) blaming the whole culture for faliure of Asian cricketers in UK, though aptly responded to by sameer, the question remains.. Wake up look around you, Your East India Co, Jaguar, NHS, MG Rover are all in the Hand of Asians (Indians and Chinese)...

  • selim on March 17, 2010, 12:45 GMT

    Late in commenting. But, loyalties are complicated. They are manufactured these days. From manufactured histories. The Utah Jazz were once in New Orleans. No brainer. The Lakers began in Minnesota. A bit of a brain needed -- Minnesota is the land of a 1000 lakes. Yet ... Michael Jordan made no sense wearing number 45 as a Washington Wizard. He realised that pretty quick. IPL loyalties...strangely enough...seem to be forming around overseas freelancers like Warne and Gilly.

  • Arvind on March 16, 2010, 11:33 GMT

    It is also good to show some imagination, if not creativity, while choosing a team name. Kings XI Punjab, Mumbai Indians, what kind of lame names are those? Also, naming the teams after the owner's brand is clearly an expensive method of advertising. Come on, show creativity. Who wants to follow teams like, Chennai Cement, Bangalore Liquor, Deccan Newspaper. And oh, WT* is a Knight rider? Did you mean horserider? Some years ago, there was a hockey PHL. The team names were good.

  • Gizza on March 16, 2010, 8:51 GMT

    Samir and others, true the EPL isn't quite the best example to use. But an example of a sports league only recently created was the Super 14 rugby comp played between clubs from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. It started in the mid 90's and has many loyal supporters.

    Okay there isn't much support outside the regional area for these rugby clubs but at least the based is covered. The international base comes as one commenter said, from the international stars. 4 per side is good enough.

    Everybody seems to forget that even Modi has objectives other than making money. He has always wanted fringe Indian players to make a comfortable living. It is not fair that 11 cricketers from a country with 1.1 billion people get rich but otherwise cricketers in India get nothing (eg. Ranji Trophy).

    What you find in India is an anti-cricket (sport) taking career culture. In Aus and SA parents prefer their kids pursue a sports career if talented as opposed to professions because Football leagu

  • raju on March 16, 2010, 8:39 GMT

    nice

  • Longmemory on March 16, 2010, 7:27 GMT

    To go off on a slight tangent, whether the IPL teams take root and develop brand identity and fan loyalty may be something only time will answer, but I fear 20/20 is here to stay. The idea of a 5-day long game which ends in a draw about a third of the time, or even a day-long game with a break for lunch (?!!), is as good as over. The T-20 version with its action-packed 3 hour format, along with the TV packaging etc. is the future and Modi - like him or not - is going to take us there. For purists like me, the best one can hope for is that people will outgrow their juvenile fascination with sixes and small grounds, and we instead return to a more even contest between bat and ball. There's a great deal that can be done to retain the best of cricket within a 3-hour format like 20/20 - whether that happens or not is the real question.

  • ksgrewal on March 16, 2010, 6:13 GMT

    iam loving the ipl, people are criticizing modi, shane warne, and otners, but it is nothing new, when something suceeds people are jealous, well done modi, in matter of few years all countries would like an ipl game in their city. look at the crowds of calcutta, iam sure if kkr reaches final that game all bengalis allover the world willsupport and go to the ground to watch it. well done modi

  • moin on March 16, 2010, 5:12 GMT

    Nice article samir.

    First of all, folks here dont understand that IPL is a Indian domestic tournament, and if people follow it outside India, its a bonus.

    The indian cricket grounds are tough to get in due to over priced tickets, worst seating and other facilities. That is the reason most of them watch them at home. Just get the viewership figures of TV and internet then u will come to know that this alone is enough to make IPL the biggest tournament.

    Coming to EPL, if u take out the non british following then EPL will be a damp squib.

    Regarding the naming of IPL clubs, they make as much sense as all the clubs around the world :P

  • Anand on March 16, 2010, 3:11 GMT

    @Harvey It's funny u say the opening ceremony was sold out because when i tried to get tickets the day before the match (i live in mumbai), all 45,000 tickets available to the public were sold, so next time you should do a little research before you make stupid comments like that.

    p.s. Samir really gave u a spanking in his reply

  • Piyush Arya on April 10, 2010, 18:01 GMT

    Actually, the names are really more significant than they seem.. Mumbai Indians: Hey, the local party there can't tolerate anyone from India except the Marathi Manoos, hence, the Mumbai "Indians". Rajasthan Royals: 'We got no cash to buy players, so tell you what! I'll keep "Royals" in the team-name! Savvy?' KKR: As quoted above- wt* is a Knight Rider?? But hey, that's the extent to which the localites know English.. Chennai Super Kings: The most pathetic of them all! 'Punjab has used the name "Kings", so we'll go to SUPER KINGS! Yo!' Deccan Chargers, and the depiction of the bull: Pretty significant with Symonds, Gibbs and Gilchrist in the team.. The bowler goes charging out the park.. Delhi Daredevils: Ah, the "Double-D" ;) Can't find a fault with RCB and Kings XI, for they took the safe path by not inventing any names of their own! Copy-Paste baby!!! ;)

  • Vandey Matram on March 21, 2010, 12:55 GMT

    That IPL is spinning out $$$$$$$ has not gone well with most western commentrators. That the Indians came up with a successful league is even more humiliating. Goodness me, remember the English, Australians & Kiwis routinely refusing to play in India citing lack of good hotels, coining terms such as Delhi Belly etc in the 70s, 80s and early 90s now falling over each other to get a chance to acquire Delhi Belly. Sure the tide has turned....Now they have problems with the names, I mean c'mon accept the fact and move on. The other day I read a former English captain (clearly a has been) blaming the whole culture for faliure of Asian cricketers in UK, though aptly responded to by sameer, the question remains.. Wake up look around you, Your East India Co, Jaguar, NHS, MG Rover are all in the Hand of Asians (Indians and Chinese)...

  • selim on March 17, 2010, 12:45 GMT

    Late in commenting. But, loyalties are complicated. They are manufactured these days. From manufactured histories. The Utah Jazz were once in New Orleans. No brainer. The Lakers began in Minnesota. A bit of a brain needed -- Minnesota is the land of a 1000 lakes. Yet ... Michael Jordan made no sense wearing number 45 as a Washington Wizard. He realised that pretty quick. IPL loyalties...strangely enough...seem to be forming around overseas freelancers like Warne and Gilly.

  • Arvind on March 16, 2010, 11:33 GMT

    It is also good to show some imagination, if not creativity, while choosing a team name. Kings XI Punjab, Mumbai Indians, what kind of lame names are those? Also, naming the teams after the owner's brand is clearly an expensive method of advertising. Come on, show creativity. Who wants to follow teams like, Chennai Cement, Bangalore Liquor, Deccan Newspaper. And oh, WT* is a Knight rider? Did you mean horserider? Some years ago, there was a hockey PHL. The team names were good.

  • Gizza on March 16, 2010, 8:51 GMT

    Samir and others, true the EPL isn't quite the best example to use. But an example of a sports league only recently created was the Super 14 rugby comp played between clubs from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. It started in the mid 90's and has many loyal supporters.

    Okay there isn't much support outside the regional area for these rugby clubs but at least the based is covered. The international base comes as one commenter said, from the international stars. 4 per side is good enough.

    Everybody seems to forget that even Modi has objectives other than making money. He has always wanted fringe Indian players to make a comfortable living. It is not fair that 11 cricketers from a country with 1.1 billion people get rich but otherwise cricketers in India get nothing (eg. Ranji Trophy).

    What you find in India is an anti-cricket (sport) taking career culture. In Aus and SA parents prefer their kids pursue a sports career if talented as opposed to professions because Football leagu

  • raju on March 16, 2010, 8:39 GMT

    nice

  • Longmemory on March 16, 2010, 7:27 GMT

    To go off on a slight tangent, whether the IPL teams take root and develop brand identity and fan loyalty may be something only time will answer, but I fear 20/20 is here to stay. The idea of a 5-day long game which ends in a draw about a third of the time, or even a day-long game with a break for lunch (?!!), is as good as over. The T-20 version with its action-packed 3 hour format, along with the TV packaging etc. is the future and Modi - like him or not - is going to take us there. For purists like me, the best one can hope for is that people will outgrow their juvenile fascination with sixes and small grounds, and we instead return to a more even contest between bat and ball. There's a great deal that can be done to retain the best of cricket within a 3-hour format like 20/20 - whether that happens or not is the real question.

  • ksgrewal on March 16, 2010, 6:13 GMT

    iam loving the ipl, people are criticizing modi, shane warne, and otners, but it is nothing new, when something suceeds people are jealous, well done modi, in matter of few years all countries would like an ipl game in their city. look at the crowds of calcutta, iam sure if kkr reaches final that game all bengalis allover the world willsupport and go to the ground to watch it. well done modi

  • moin on March 16, 2010, 5:12 GMT

    Nice article samir.

    First of all, folks here dont understand that IPL is a Indian domestic tournament, and if people follow it outside India, its a bonus.

    The indian cricket grounds are tough to get in due to over priced tickets, worst seating and other facilities. That is the reason most of them watch them at home. Just get the viewership figures of TV and internet then u will come to know that this alone is enough to make IPL the biggest tournament.

    Coming to EPL, if u take out the non british following then EPL will be a damp squib.

    Regarding the naming of IPL clubs, they make as much sense as all the clubs around the world :P

  • Anand on March 16, 2010, 3:11 GMT

    @Harvey It's funny u say the opening ceremony was sold out because when i tried to get tickets the day before the match (i live in mumbai), all 45,000 tickets available to the public were sold, so next time you should do a little research before you make stupid comments like that.

    p.s. Samir really gave u a spanking in his reply

  • Harvey on March 15, 2010, 21:46 GMT

    @Anon - you are making assumptions. I never said I wanted the IPL to fail. I just want cricket administrators to stop this crazy Twenty20 gold rush and develop a sense of perspective. All this greed will bring ruin on the game of cricket if left unchecked. Some of the schemes being talked about - such as having an IPL franchise based at Lord's - are simply madness. Such ideas can only come from - or be taken seriously by - people who have become so blinded by dollar signs that they've lost all sense of reality. It's the INDIAN Premier League, so if Modi wants loyal fans for his franchises he needs to concentrate on winning over and keeping his INDIAN audience. Unfortunately for him, the message I'm increasingly seeing on cricket forums is that even Indian fans who love Twenty20 think that the IPL already lasts too long and that expanding it to 7 weeks is a bad idea, so I'd have thought that he ought to be listening to them instead of coming up with megalomaniac globalisation schemes.

  • Tony Attwood on March 15, 2010, 15:31 GMT

    Can I add a little about Arsenal? They started out as Woolwich Arsenal - the place that built all the armaments for the UK for hundreds of years. But 100 years ago, almost to the day, that club went bust, and were bought out by Fulham FC.

    The original plan was to merge the clubs, but when the league didn't allow this, Woolwich Arsenal's new owners looked for a new location for the club, and eventually chose Highbury in north London.

    That area had no connection with the old armaments factory, so they dropped "Woolwich" from the name, and became "The Arsenal". Later they turned into "Arsenal".

    In case you are interested, there is a book (written by me) about Arsenal's collapse in 1910. It is a novel written in the form of a Fleet Street journalist's diary.

    You can buy it on www.amazon.co.uk or from the publishers at www.emiratesstadium.info

    Tony Attwood

  • jitendra kuril on March 15, 2010, 14:11 GMT

    I thik ipl is not only a power ful stikers of boll players game but i would like to watch those players who have technical skills specially like Rahul Dravid he is making runs by his cricketing strokes AND EVEN SACHIN TOO

  • Irshad Khan on March 15, 2010, 14:06 GMT

    You will never ever find hard hitter Yousuf Pathan .... he made for T20 & one day only.

  • RM on March 15, 2010, 12:51 GMT

    Recent success of IPL is due to the non-cricketing entertainment it provided to entertainment starved Indian people. It was great to see live cheer leaders with skimpy dresses. Something they pay to watch in cinemas. Falvour is added by gossip material of Harbajan slapping Sreesanth or Pretty Zintah hugging Yuvraj. Where in the world majority of the participating teams are owned by film stars? It is not based on cricket, it is based on glamour and will survive and thrive like that but not as serious sports like English football league. As T20 will get its own tournaments developed around the world you will see a decreasing number of international players and a lesser number of game followers and a greater number of Bollywood lovers.

  • Sarosh Elahi on March 15, 2010, 12:15 GMT

    Hey guys I agree with your points and am of the opinion that one of the major drawbacks from a fan loyalty perspective in the IPL is the restriction the league places on the number of foreign players in a playing 11. The English premier league teams have no such restrictions and as such owe no debt to the FA to produce English players who will win the world cup. Hence the diehard support and the notion that Liverpool fans would much rather win the league than the world cup if a choice was to be made. Only when cricket breaks free of such shackles will we be able to expect loyal supporters.

  • probir on March 15, 2010, 10:43 GMT

    i am the supporter of KKR

  • Anand Seshadri on March 15, 2010, 9:23 GMT

    This comparison between the English Premier League and the IPL (in the conversation between Samir and Harvey) is intellectually OK but meaningless. The IPL is copying the American style leagues and is hoping time will allow allegiances to take root. And they are right. Lets call a spade a spade. This is an Indian league with the best foreign players in it for the money. Non-Indian support and fan bases are a minor distraction. If it comes thats great. If not, no sweat. I once heard a spokesman for the Stanley cup discussing whether it could be expanded to include European clubs. His answer said it all "if we find time for it: not a priority".

  • Raghunath on March 15, 2010, 9:21 GMT

    Samir The city names have been brought in to "ensure in-stadium attendance by fans at the named venues". Otherwise, if it is a match between Vodafone Voodoos and Hutch Hoodoos (and with not a single great Bangalore cricketer in the team - because they are with other teams!), they will not be able to attract crowds at the stadium.

    If the stadium is not full, TV viewership will also be down. So no advertisements.

    Where will the zillions come from, then, for the Great Indian Party of LalitModi ?

  • surat on March 15, 2010, 8:30 GMT

    @harvey the capacity of dy patil is 55000 and 40000-45000 no.of people present despite being a working day is good for the game of cricket...as to get into a stadium in India,you have to pay for over priced ticket,get ready to face worst hospitality in many grounds but dy patil may be an exception...and it was not a home game for both of the teams. match no.2 and match no.3 was full upto there capacity,even epl was not a straightaway success as it took time for the franchises to build there image to all those sceptics of ipl,i beleive,anything which popularises the game is good and enjoy it,like fans in england and oz getting free matches on tv is quiet enjoyable

  • The White Hunter on March 15, 2010, 8:15 GMT

    I think the franchises from big cities like Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai are always going to be very loyal to their own team. In fact, I think there are more passionate KKR fans in Kolkata than the Indian national team, now that Sourav Ganguly has retired from international cricket and not a single Bengali player is in the Indian team. But Rajasthan Royals, Deccan Chargers and Kings XI Punjab will struggle to build up a loyal fan-base. In the future they may become the whipping boys of the IPL.

  • Praveen on March 15, 2010, 7:59 GMT

    Interesting blog there Samir. I support the Boston Celtics in the NBA, not sure what a Celtic is - something Irish I presume - but who cares. I think you will find that IPL support will be a lot less secure - particularly overseas. This is because most overseas fans support an IPL team based on the player roster. However with players coming in and out due to international committments, and the four international player limit, sometimes your favourite players will not be playing, and then will you bother to support the team? T20, unlike test cricket, makes all the teams quite similar. You could not say one team is more 'watchable' than the other because they all approach the game in a similar fashion. So my point here is that for these reasons, I predict the overseas fan base for the IPL to dwindle as time goes by.

  • siddharth on March 15, 2010, 7:47 GMT

    it doesnt matter to me if it is delhi daredevils or dilli ke sher.i support the club because i live in this city and this is my home. The teams have added the nouns to make it catchy.

  • Sudarshan on March 15, 2010, 5:30 GMT

    @ Harvey, you would be surprised to know that for both Manchester United as well as for Real Madrid most of their loyal fan base comes from outside of the United Kingdom, if they are solvent its because of these people from places as far flung as India, China, Japan, Korea etc.

    For most people loyalties build over time and based on heroes they choose to follow, for example I have followed Arsenal simply because I have loved stars like Henry, Viera etc but now the affection has continued.

    Similarly these IPL clubs will also have fan following based on legends that will get created overtime, today there is a overbearing reliance of retired stars but as time goes by you will have a similar structure to that of EPL or NBA and automatically fan following, allegiance will develop in such a way as to rival the ones seen in football.

    The only things it depends on is the quality of cricket dished out and accessibility afforded to paying public.

  • MC Abdul Gaffoor on March 15, 2010, 4:57 GMT

    IPL is a fasntastic game but I unable to watch this game because not display at any channels in Sri Lanka

  • Ajit on March 15, 2010, 4:19 GMT

    I guess the DY Patil Stadium was only 70% filled because no home team was involved in the match. Thats another proof that fan base for the home is slowly evolving and loyalties should start soon too.

  • Jim Ribbans on March 15, 2010, 2:52 GMT

    Samir,

    I have to go with Harvey on this. I'm no critic of the T20 game, love the spectacle, the innovation etc. However I think any comparisons between the IPL and the EPL are premature at best.

    Bear in mind, the Premier League is a relatively modern phenomenon and one that has actually, actively 'turned off' a lot of football fans in the UK.

    True, as a money making entity it is deemed a huge success, but it's not without it's detractors in the UK (and beyond).

    Indeed over the last few years the EPL has shown itself to be corrupted, corruptible and certainly not representative of the game as remembered by many in their youth.

    Therefore, I think many people have a problem with the IPL aiming to become the next EPL as in doing so it may not best serve the game we all know and love.

    So yes, the IPL may be as 'big' as the EPL one day and yes, fans may 'flock to the flag' of these new and made up franchises, but one still has to question the motives.

  • vas on March 15, 2010, 0:30 GMT

    Samir, you're right in the sense that detractors of the IPL say there is no history attached to these franchises, and that will only be gained through time.

    However, with the amounts of money involved, will Lalit Modi tolerate time to grow? The English Premier League came 104 years after the first English domestic competition took place. Do you think the IPL can afford to wait that long?

    As Harvey mentioned, the success of the EPL is thanks to the English football fans who helped build their respective teams from little institutions to the global ones we know today. IPL franchises are expecting to become household names through the power of money. Apart from Indian fans, there is little appeal for overseas cricket lovers to become vested in these franchises. Once they forget the money and start investing in grassroot growth, then that will be the way to increase the following. But that seems unlikely to occur...

  • Anon on March 14, 2010, 23:01 GMT

    Harvey is another non-Indian that wants the IPL to fail. Well, today, the stadiums were pretty much full for both games in Kolkata and Chennai and the atmosphere was electric.

    I agree one thing that would have been better for the IPL to do would have been to keep the tournament to no more than 5 weeks. The fact is, they play everyday for 6 weeks and there are plans by the greedy Modi to expand it to 7 weeks which is a bit on the long side, purely because there is action everyday while tournament lasts. If they played every 2nd or 3rd day, then 7 weeks would be OK.

    Personally I would go back shorten the tournamnet to five weeks.

  • Harvey on March 14, 2010, 21:47 GMT

    Samir, The success of English football clubs depends first and foremost on English fans. Those English fans for the most part certainly do have a very strong sense of history, which is one of the things that keeps them turning up week in, week out through thick and thin. Likewise the success or failure of the IPL rests primarily with Indian fans. If they don't keep turning up in numbers, the spectacle is diminished, interest falls away, and so does advertising revenue and its ability to attract big names. At least fans of unsuccessful English football clubs have history to fall back on. Fans of unsuccessful IPL franchises have nothing of the sort, and there are already signs that the novelty that pulled in the fans for IPL 1 and the TV viewers for IPL 2 has started to wear off. Despite the unprecedented hype surrounding it, the DY Patil was (according to Cricinfo)only around 70% full for the opening IPL 3 match. Not a very auspicious start considering the huge sums of money invested.

    [[Harvey: Fair points about what the league will rely on over time. However, doesn't that apply to any new league? My original point was made against the contention that a priori these franchises stood no chance. But that point is weakened when one realizes that all professional franchises are capable of manufacturing traditions and history. And such manufacturing is easier in this day and age than in any other. Look at how easily expansion franchises in established leagues are able to build up a loyal fan-base. The biggest worry is the golden goose worry and that is still true for the IPL - a longer season, too many teams, too many games, all could kill it. ]]

  • Harvey on March 14, 2010, 20:47 GMT

    Your comparison between the names of IPL teams and English Premiership clubs is as absurd as it is unresearched. Fulham is a club that is named after the part of London where it was formed, and where it still plays. Where is the ridiculous IPL-style suffix? Likewise Aston Villa is named after the place where the club was formed - a part of Aston (a place in Birmingham) that was known as Aston Villa after an 18th century house that used to exist there. Arsenal was originally Royal Arsenal, formed by employees of the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich. The club later became known as Woolwich Arsenal, and then simply Arsenal when the club relocated to North London. They all have a long, proud history dating back well over a century, and unlike IPL franchises these clubs have genuine roots in the communities where they're based. The IPL is just another here today, gone tomorrow competition like the ICL or Stanford. If it has a long-term future at all, it's as just another domestic competition.

    [[Harvey: I think you have missed my point. Do the overseas fans of Arsenal know all this history? Do they care? Do the overseas fans of Fulham know it is in London? I cheered for Tottenham Hotspurs without knowing where Tottenham was or what a Hotspur is, just because Osvaldo Ardiles played for them. And isn't three years on too soon to be judging the IPL as here-today-gone-tomorrow?]]

  • Sandeep on March 14, 2010, 18:19 GMT

    True True True

    Well observed and pointed out

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Sandeep on March 14, 2010, 18:19 GMT

    True True True

    Well observed and pointed out

  • Harvey on March 14, 2010, 20:47 GMT

    Your comparison between the names of IPL teams and English Premiership clubs is as absurd as it is unresearched. Fulham is a club that is named after the part of London where it was formed, and where it still plays. Where is the ridiculous IPL-style suffix? Likewise Aston Villa is named after the place where the club was formed - a part of Aston (a place in Birmingham) that was known as Aston Villa after an 18th century house that used to exist there. Arsenal was originally Royal Arsenal, formed by employees of the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich. The club later became known as Woolwich Arsenal, and then simply Arsenal when the club relocated to North London. They all have a long, proud history dating back well over a century, and unlike IPL franchises these clubs have genuine roots in the communities where they're based. The IPL is just another here today, gone tomorrow competition like the ICL or Stanford. If it has a long-term future at all, it's as just another domestic competition.

    [[Harvey: I think you have missed my point. Do the overseas fans of Arsenal know all this history? Do they care? Do the overseas fans of Fulham know it is in London? I cheered for Tottenham Hotspurs without knowing where Tottenham was or what a Hotspur is, just because Osvaldo Ardiles played for them. And isn't three years on too soon to be judging the IPL as here-today-gone-tomorrow?]]

  • Harvey on March 14, 2010, 21:47 GMT

    Samir, The success of English football clubs depends first and foremost on English fans. Those English fans for the most part certainly do have a very strong sense of history, which is one of the things that keeps them turning up week in, week out through thick and thin. Likewise the success or failure of the IPL rests primarily with Indian fans. If they don't keep turning up in numbers, the spectacle is diminished, interest falls away, and so does advertising revenue and its ability to attract big names. At least fans of unsuccessful English football clubs have history to fall back on. Fans of unsuccessful IPL franchises have nothing of the sort, and there are already signs that the novelty that pulled in the fans for IPL 1 and the TV viewers for IPL 2 has started to wear off. Despite the unprecedented hype surrounding it, the DY Patil was (according to Cricinfo)only around 70% full for the opening IPL 3 match. Not a very auspicious start considering the huge sums of money invested.

    [[Harvey: Fair points about what the league will rely on over time. However, doesn't that apply to any new league? My original point was made against the contention that a priori these franchises stood no chance. But that point is weakened when one realizes that all professional franchises are capable of manufacturing traditions and history. And such manufacturing is easier in this day and age than in any other. Look at how easily expansion franchises in established leagues are able to build up a loyal fan-base. The biggest worry is the golden goose worry and that is still true for the IPL - a longer season, too many teams, too many games, all could kill it. ]]

  • Anon on March 14, 2010, 23:01 GMT

    Harvey is another non-Indian that wants the IPL to fail. Well, today, the stadiums were pretty much full for both games in Kolkata and Chennai and the atmosphere was electric.

    I agree one thing that would have been better for the IPL to do would have been to keep the tournament to no more than 5 weeks. The fact is, they play everyday for 6 weeks and there are plans by the greedy Modi to expand it to 7 weeks which is a bit on the long side, purely because there is action everyday while tournament lasts. If they played every 2nd or 3rd day, then 7 weeks would be OK.

    Personally I would go back shorten the tournamnet to five weeks.

  • vas on March 15, 2010, 0:30 GMT

    Samir, you're right in the sense that detractors of the IPL say there is no history attached to these franchises, and that will only be gained through time.

    However, with the amounts of money involved, will Lalit Modi tolerate time to grow? The English Premier League came 104 years after the first English domestic competition took place. Do you think the IPL can afford to wait that long?

    As Harvey mentioned, the success of the EPL is thanks to the English football fans who helped build their respective teams from little institutions to the global ones we know today. IPL franchises are expecting to become household names through the power of money. Apart from Indian fans, there is little appeal for overseas cricket lovers to become vested in these franchises. Once they forget the money and start investing in grassroot growth, then that will be the way to increase the following. But that seems unlikely to occur...

  • Jim Ribbans on March 15, 2010, 2:52 GMT

    Samir,

    I have to go with Harvey on this. I'm no critic of the T20 game, love the spectacle, the innovation etc. However I think any comparisons between the IPL and the EPL are premature at best.

    Bear in mind, the Premier League is a relatively modern phenomenon and one that has actually, actively 'turned off' a lot of football fans in the UK.

    True, as a money making entity it is deemed a huge success, but it's not without it's detractors in the UK (and beyond).

    Indeed over the last few years the EPL has shown itself to be corrupted, corruptible and certainly not representative of the game as remembered by many in their youth.

    Therefore, I think many people have a problem with the IPL aiming to become the next EPL as in doing so it may not best serve the game we all know and love.

    So yes, the IPL may be as 'big' as the EPL one day and yes, fans may 'flock to the flag' of these new and made up franchises, but one still has to question the motives.

  • Ajit on March 15, 2010, 4:19 GMT

    I guess the DY Patil Stadium was only 70% filled because no home team was involved in the match. Thats another proof that fan base for the home is slowly evolving and loyalties should start soon too.

  • MC Abdul Gaffoor on March 15, 2010, 4:57 GMT

    IPL is a fasntastic game but I unable to watch this game because not display at any channels in Sri Lanka

  • Sudarshan on March 15, 2010, 5:30 GMT

    @ Harvey, you would be surprised to know that for both Manchester United as well as for Real Madrid most of their loyal fan base comes from outside of the United Kingdom, if they are solvent its because of these people from places as far flung as India, China, Japan, Korea etc.

    For most people loyalties build over time and based on heroes they choose to follow, for example I have followed Arsenal simply because I have loved stars like Henry, Viera etc but now the affection has continued.

    Similarly these IPL clubs will also have fan following based on legends that will get created overtime, today there is a overbearing reliance of retired stars but as time goes by you will have a similar structure to that of EPL or NBA and automatically fan following, allegiance will develop in such a way as to rival the ones seen in football.

    The only things it depends on is the quality of cricket dished out and accessibility afforded to paying public.

  • siddharth on March 15, 2010, 7:47 GMT

    it doesnt matter to me if it is delhi daredevils or dilli ke sher.i support the club because i live in this city and this is my home. The teams have added the nouns to make it catchy.