IPL and need for city-centric viewers

The BCCI is guaranteed the moolah for the moment. But for the money to keep flowing in, for IPL to sustain, Indian viewers must start to identify with their city team and turn passionate about their city team's fortunes.

Now is that possible?

For the moment, BCCI revenues are four fold. Sale of media rights for the matches; Title sponsorship of the tournament & licensed merchandise; the amounts bid by the franchisees and revenues generated by the franchisee rights.

Is the gamble on the part of the franchisees justified? Regionalism in India is definitely on the rise. But its more political than anything else. Plus its largely driven by linguistic differences that have in the past resulted in the creation of 'states' in India. Cities on the other hand are melting pots of various linguistic backgrounds. Take Bangalore for example, the city has a sizable population of Tamilians and Keraliites. Assuming that the Bangalore team will draw players from all the southern states, would that be able to guarantee that the populace of Bangalore identifies with the Bangalore team?

The fact remains that cricket is a 'tiresome, boring watch' for viewers at times. Yet it gets its fanatical following for a single reason. Its the only sport where we have been 'world beaters'. Now that captures the imagination of the public every time the Indian team wins at the 'world' (note, not local) stage. Every Indian identifies with that victory and makes it partly his own personal victory. For any other sport to command the following cricket has, marketing is not the answer. Remember the hockey league? The Indian team in that sport will have to win at the world stage and the 'following' will follow. Money will automatically move in.

For the moment the IPL gamble seems to be worth taking. But then time will truly tell.

Also read the TOI analysis on the IPL business model here.


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