Sunday, April 20, 2008

Celebrities at IPL T20

No one is sure how the Indian public is taking to IPL (Indian Premier League) T20 game. IPL is trying to create and cash on regional jingoism in an effort to create fan following for the IPL teams. The concept of club loyalties is new to India. It seems India does not have IPL club loyalties just as yet. Club and team loyalties in the US and Europe are fierce, fans take keen interest in their team's progress and support them all out. There are queues for tickets and supporters wear the colors of their team. We have a failed concept in the form of Indian football league. It did not generate much public interest.

The scale of drama in IPL T20 is much bigger than the football league because big money is involved. By some estimates IPL twenty20 cricket will generate revenues to the tune of Rs 4000 crore (Billion dollars). No wonder we have team sponsors roping in bollywood celebrities to grace the IPL match venues. The IPL team owners are celebrities in their own right Shah Rukh Khan, Priety Zenta, Vijay Mallya to name a few. The promoters of IPL T20 are trying to cash in on Indian craze for cricket.

But the public seems confused as yet. For example the Bangalore crowd cheered the opposing team’s batsman when he hit sixes. As of now the crowds are drawn more because of curiosity about IPL than anything else. The bollywood and cricket celebrities are a big draw for the public. The advertising blitz, media coverage and initial curiosity about IPL Twenty 20 might do the trick for now but it will not create team loyalties in public. Nothing excites Indian cricket fan more than an international match especially India Pakistan match. I think they find it difficult to relate to an outsider playing for their local club.

Unless IPL T20 promoters are able to foster fan following and team loyalties in public, IPL might not be such a hot idea to make money. At least the fans will get to see their favorite celebrities in IPL matches.

Punjab IPL team's owner Preity Zinta during the IPL T20 Championship match between Punjab IPL team and Chennai IPL team at PCA Stadium in Mohali, on Saturday, April 19, 2008.

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simigaur said...
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