March 21, 2010

Is This the World's Richest Sporting League?: Mind you, it's one you've probably never heard of, in a sport you've likely never seen. But two new franchises have just sold for more than $700 million.

posted by owlhouse to other at 10:56 PM - 11 comments

If you're in the US, you can watch the IPL on YouTube.

To me, it's gaudy nonsense buoyed by a bubble of silly money that will eventually burst (the new franchise bids smack of people buying in late and overpaying) but the stadiums are full, the world's best players are showing up for big paydays, and the crowds are loving the spectacle.

posted by etagloh at 01:44 AM on March 22, 2010

I don't feel 'dissed' in any case. The IPL gets very little publicity outside India, which is part of the point.

But there's a bigger story in there about modern India, and not just in relation to sport.

posted by owlhouse at 05:40 AM on March 22, 2010

Several comments deleted. If you don't care about a sport, skip the discussion of that sport. No one cares you don't care.

posted by rcade at 07:15 AM on March 22, 2010

I was in China last week and at one insomnia-fuelled point I was flicking channels between the two early Europa League football matches (Juve and Fulham, Bremen and Valencia) and an IPL game (no idea which teams). I'm probably more of a (test match) cricket than a soccer fan, but I love watching both games.

In the two football matches, 13 goals were scored and the outcomes of both games rested in the balance right up until the final whistles. In the cricket, one team seemed to have the ascendency throughout and ended up winning (though not by as comfortable a margin as it looked like it should have done in the end). I've had a few rants in the pub about T20 in my time (and I maintain that it shouldn't be considered "cricket" in the purest sense) but in truth, I'd never really watched a game.

Honestly? I preferred the cricket to the football.

Then on Saturday, back home on the sofa with a feast of (admitedly northern hemisphere) rugby union to watch as the Six Nations came to a close, I found myself drawn repeatedly instead to the IPL game being shown on ITV4.

I can't quite put my finger on what it is they're doing right, but there's something pulling me in and I'm not nearly as resistant to it as I used to be (or perhaps as I ought to be).

posted by JJ at 09:39 AM on March 22, 2010

Thanks for the link etagloh.

I've always wanted to see a match to see what the big appeal was.

posted by WolfpackMD at 09:41 AM on March 22, 2010

India: a Land of Contrasts.

During the advertising-saturated broadcasts, take a look at some of the things that pop up on the bottom of the screen. It seems that in India, you can not only receive the broadcasts direct on your mobile phone or over the internet, but they also show the IPL in hundreds of cinema halls across the country, for those people who don't have a TV, or probably electricity and water as well.

posted by owlhouse at 04:18 PM on March 22, 2010

I've actually heard of it.

YouTube link works in Canada too.

Disappointingly it appears the aspect ratio is wrong, at least on the video I tried watch. As a video purist that pisses me off.

posted by Drood at 07:37 PM on March 22, 2010

Yeah, it seems to be 16:9 squeezed into 4:3.

Like JJ, I find it watchable almost in spite of my purist self -- I took a peek at the back end of the Chennai/Punjab match which went to the tie-break 'superover' and had to watch to the finish. It's both indebted to the innovations that Kerry Packer brought to the game in the late 1970s, and perhaps the fullest manifestation of his vision of cricket as prime-time entertainment, though he never lived to see it. (owlhouse: you got me thinking how a T20 game is basically the length of a Bollywood feature, three hours plus intermission.)

And it's definitely a kind of historical record of 21st-century India.

posted by etagloh at 11:58 PM on March 22, 2010

you got me thinking how a T20 game is basically the length of a Bollywood feature, three hours plus intermission

With dancing. Don't forget the dancing.

posted by owlhouse at 12:21 AM on March 23, 2010

Yeah - screw the superover - they should have a dance-off.

I was thinking about it last night; I reckon one of the things that makes it unusual for me is that most of the cricket that interests me is international, and while there are good players in county cricket in England every year, you tend to get two or maybe three superstars per team, plus a bunch of young (or old) English county players you only half know. So T20 breaks that mould by having teams full of superstars (old and young) but with the nationalities all nicely mixed up.

It's also a lot closer to the kind of cricket I actually play every so often - very limited overs with a premium on hitting out at all times. Maybe that draws me to it too. It was a logical step really; the 50-over format is pretty stale these days. The first ten and last ten overs of each innings are pretty exciting sometimes, so T20 just removed the boring middle 30.

posted by JJ at 06:11 AM on March 23, 2010

Tangentially related TED Talk: Harsha Bhogle: The rise of cricket, the rise of India.

For the other ignoramuses in the room like myself, an explanation of T20.

posted by yerfatma at 08:12 AM on March 23, 2010

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