Champions League Twenty20 2010 August 31, 2010

Champions League Twenty20 has challenges - Sundar Raman

Cricinfo staff

The 2010 Champions League Twenty20 in South Africa will be a success but there are challenges to building its popularity, the tournament's CEO Sundar Raman has said.

Last year's tournament drew low television ratings and relatively sparse crowds in India, the world's largest cricket market, for matches not involving IPL sides. Raman admitted the lack of team recognition is a problem and one the tournament committee is working hard to fix.

"For us it is very important that people know the teams," Raman said in an interview with Sportz Power, a website that covers the business of sport in India. "South Africa is going to be different because they are used to a club culture. Now we are starting with an advantage because they know the two South African teams and they know the three IPL teams, so recognition is not 3 on 12 [last year] but it's 5 on 10. So that's a big advantage for us."

At the same time, Raman said that in any global tournament, be it the cricket or football World Cups, there will be teams that are unfamiliar to a particular country's fans. "Here you have three teams to follow, and not one team to follow. That is the big advantage [for Indian fans]."

Still, despite the club culture in South Africa, ticket sales have been mixed to this point. Raman expected Durban and Port Elizabeth to have full houses but said there were concerns about Centurion, which doesn't have a home team in the tournament, and Johannesburg, which does not feature either an Indian or a South African team.

"See CL T20 we have to be clear is not going to get international visitors, rather it's going to develop the local market. That's the big challenge for us and I think that's what we should start focusing on rather than trying to get the world to descend on South Africa."

The other important change this year, Raman said, is to let the quality of cricket be its own advertisement instead of diluting it with Bollywood-style entertainment. The tournament was conceived as a global event, so what entertainment there will be is aimed at a global audience, which is why Enrique Iglesias was chosen to sing the theme song.

"It has to have relevance," Raman said. "Someone like Enrique cuts across genres and brings in a new set of audiences. Our belief has always been that T20 is a great platform to get new audiences into the game. For us this is a big advantage. Bringing in Enrique, taking the tournament to South Africa, adds more fans."

The tournament, which begins on September 10, is being aggressively promoted around the world. In India, ESPN Star Sports (ESS), which owns the broadcast rights, has signed Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan as the event's brand ambassador and has been running a string of ads featuring the actor and players such as Sourav Ganguly and Andrew Symonds. The three IPL teams - Chennai Super Kings, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians - are also running their own marketing campaigns to drum up excitement among their fans.

"Each of the sub-licensees of ESPN Star Sports are promoting it in a big way," Raman said. "Eurosport is broadcasting in 13 languages, then they have ESPN broadcasting in the Caribbean market. It's a big investment that all of us have made in this. Australia is doing some serious promotion through publicity and on-air promotions. So the tournament is being promoted pretty heavily through our broadcasters."

The end result is an event Raman believes will appeal to the viewer in India and the spectator in South Africa. "I am more confident than I was last year because I have seen what the product was last year. I believe that not only will it be a huge success in India but it will be far more well received in India. You have to acknowledge India is the market where there are sizeable TV audiences and South Africa is where the stadium audiences are."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • shreejit on September 6, 2010, 14:08 GMT

    there is just one way to make make clt20 success that is every team should play on their home stadium or away stadium like uefa cl. For example real Madrid vs MANU is either played in madrid or old traffod not at neutral venue.Clt20 should not be held in a particular country or particular month it should be held all across world and all over the year. and final should be awarded to one venue.

  • Dummy4 on September 6, 2010, 12:31 GMT

    Add my name to the list of fans who enjoy watching ALL forms of the game including T20. The shorter version has helped regenerate interest in the game.

  • Bharath on September 3, 2010, 8:43 GMT

    Add myself to the list of fans who hates T20... it is absolutely a rubbish form of cricket and it does not serve any purpose to improve the career of a cricketer... and this CL T20 is going to be an utter flop...

  • Ryan on September 3, 2010, 6:47 GMT

    Promotion in Australia. You're joking right? People in Aus know about the finals of the different football codes taking place in September in Australia but the champions league cricket... If you are a serious cricket follower in Australia, then you will know about it from cricinfo. That's about it. I'd be intersted to know how many people in Australia could even name half of the players in the Redbacks squad? Even their squad for the local Big bash.

  • Andrew on September 1, 2010, 13:31 GMT

    @RezH: You're right - I also have no idea what this guy is on about. And I've heard that the games at Wanderers are almost sold out already (I've got my tickets). Bring it on!

  • Sanjay on September 1, 2010, 9:24 GMT

    wat a money spinning venture, as if IPL rubbish wasnt enough look wat it has done to our younger players, none of them really have the desire to play for the country and now this. It was such a huge flop in India last time around. I hope they incurr massive losses which will force them to stop this stupidity...

  • Rezana on September 1, 2010, 6:42 GMT

    "Raman expected Durban and Port Elizabeth to have full houses but said there were concerns about Centurion, which doesn't have a home team in the tournament, and Johannesburg, which does not feature either an Indian or a South African team." WHAT IS THIS DUDE ON ABOUT!!! Clearly he has no idea of SA domestic teams, the LIONS is one of the sa teams taking part in theCLT20 and they are based Johannesburg(Jhb) and are playing the opening game in Jhb, Wanderers against Mumbai Indians, an Indian team that will be playing in Jhb!!!Even Royal Challengers Bagalore are playing a match in JHB So what is this man going on about, he needs to look at the match schedule and see which teams are playing where and theior origins!!! Even Royal Challengers Bagalore are playing a match in JHB. Clearly he has no idea what he is talking about but is promoting a tournament with incorrect information!!!

  • Adam on September 1, 2010, 6:21 GMT

    Serious promotion in Australia????? would someone like to point me in the direction of this? If it wasnt for cricinfo i wouldnt even know the CLT20 was on.

  • Giribabu on September 1, 2010, 4:18 GMT

    All these cricket administrators think that they are the best businessmen in the world by doing all kinds of circus feats.... Only Pieterson's words best describes the T20 cricket.. T20 is completely waste and rubbish.. Jai ho Test cricket..

  • Haris on September 1, 2010, 3:47 GMT

    clt20 will attract greater audience if they allow Pakistani teams to play.........they have pretty serious talent.........and invite two teams from each of the top eight nations...then we will see a fair contest and a wider audience...

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