The game of cricket is now almost a religion to the Indians. The glorious era of Indian cricket started from its 1983 world cup win. Other popular games like hockey and football lost their popularity and cricket become a widely loved and followed sport in the country. In 2007 India became the world champion of the shorter version of the game - Twenty20 cricket. The result of this victory prompted Indians to take a great interest in this format of the game. India pushed Twenty20 cricket to next level by organizing a domestic tournament containing international stars called The Indian Premier League (IPL), which was initiated by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and supervised by BCCI Vice President Lalit Modi, Chairman & Commissioner for IPL.
The tournament started in 2008 in India but in 2009 the venue of the 2nd season was shifted to South Africa for security reasons. In 2010 IPL has come back to India and the 3rd season was inaugurated today with a spectacular opening ceremony.
Indian bloggers have been abuzz about this extravaganza much before the tournament as it created a number of controversies with incidents like ignoring Pakistani cricketers in its first auction and irking the media people. Many Netizens were eagerly waiting for the tournament.
Kunal Mudgal at Just a slice of life writes:
Its time for the madness to begin!!
IPL is back in its 3rd season. Its bigger, better and now back in India. This year will be the true test of this carnival on whether it can sustain itself in this format.
When IPL started out, it was a unique concept in India. But in essence, it was trying to recreate the fanaticism found in football leagues across Europe.
Greatbong at Random Thoughts of a Demented Mind weighs on the entertainment part the tournament offers and asks:
Will all this be worth the Rs 1200 I will shell out for my ticket—-around the same price one would pay, once upton a time, to watch 5 days of Test cricket?
Shubhashish is at the stadium to watch the opening ceremony and the first match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Deccan Chargers. He posts this picture at Twitpick.
Abhinav notes the IPL craze in India:
TV, Internet, Newspapers… Every medium is flooding with DLF IPL, a private event; that above all, explains the success of Indian Premier League. For a private event, entire media is fighting to give free of cost coverage! Strange, but Interesting!
The bloggers lists the marketing and branding strategies which have worked in favour of IPL to hype this craze. To highlight a few:
- “Packaging of the Event” from day 1 as entertainment is the biggest strategic hit. Cricket just happens to be there!
- To keep it focussed in 20 overs and inviting International players, not only enhanced the entertainment value but also factored in the fastest growing segment of high income youth.
- Attracting the movie stars like Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta and Shilpa Shetty along with highly placed industrialist as team owners, ensured ample media and public interest which further contributed to the success of the event.
Prem Panicker at Smoke Signals sheds a light on IPL auction’s bidding process and the various pros and cons of the process.
JS tells everybody to enjoy IPL shunning all controversies:
Nothing other than the ODI and T20 World Cups, not even the Champions Trophy, has maintained the anticipation levels as high as the Modi juggernaut called the Indian Premier League (IPL). And if we may take the liberty, even the ODI World Cup has its interest dwindling since the last couple of editions, albeit ever so slightly.
But it’s not the time to ponder anything else; rather just grab a drink, dig into your couch and get immersed into the IPL. It’s that time in the cricketing calendar when all the soaps take a backseat and the desperate housewives either get remote-controlled or join the gang.
WATBlog reports that YouTube is promoting IPL by showing all 60 matches live via its official IPL channel and it has already bagged 200 million Indian Rupees (4.4 million USD) from sponsorships.
Yesterday at the digital media awards night I was part of a discussion with a couple of agency folks who updated me that Youtube was doing exceedingly well when it came to sponsorship monies. One of them stated that Youtube had garnered 20 crores worth of sponsorship for the entire IPL series with individual sponsorship amounts from some sponsors going upto 2 crores as well.
This makes youtube more expensive from a cost per reach perspective when you consider the number of viewers TV will reach vs the no of viewers youtube will reach in India. All in all most agency folks said that this was a big win for digital in India and a lesson for all of us in how to sell digital.
Meanwhile, IPL became a trending topic in Twitter today. Here are some of the Twitter reactions especially highlighting the opening ceremony which featured live performance from international rock stars like UB40, ABBA, Lionel Richie etc.
smokeysunny: The Official #IPL Community created by #ORKUT http://www.orkut.co.in/Main#Community?cmm=99087253
seopatel: #IPL #MATCH #CRICKET #MUMBAI are in the latest top 10 trends on twitter. India really uses twitter.. do you?
gynelwazlib: The DY stadium looks so beautiful. Feel uncharacteristically proud right now. One of those chairs is my indirect contribution. #ipl
pradeepto: OMG! An #UFO!!! White floating Ufo sighted at DY Patil stadium. #Aliens with funky fluorescent head-wear walking around the ground! #ipl
cricscoreapplet: #cricket #ipl Bollywood beauty, the sizzling Deepika Padukone is on stage now, sending the crowd into a tizzy with her moves
raknair07: Like always..what a crappy opening ceremony ...how much more do i have to bear this :( #fail #IPL
pranav_marathe: THE LASER SHOW IN #IPL #OPENING #CEREMONY IS ABSOLUTELY STUNNING. DEEPIKA'S PERFORMANCE WAS GOOD.
vedantvarma: Am thrilled with the IPL bashing so far. Sheer bliss. :-) they deserve it #ipl
The Indian blogosphere will continue to be flourished with IPL related stories. There will be regular predictions, analysis and gossip among other things. Amidst all the money, controversy, media hype and entertainment, here is hoping that cricket does not become second fiddle in IPL.
First published in Global Voices Online.