2ndlook

IPL: The Empty Moral Posturing?

Posted in America, European History, India, Media, politics by Anuraag Sanghi on May 25, 2013

India alone, outside Europe, has been able to create and sustain a near-global sporting event. The IPL. India needs to handle the IPL more professionally.

Even with billions in American Football, the game has not crossed America's borders. Here is Running back DeShaun Foster (20) of the Carolina Panthers scores on a 33 yard touchdown run against the New England Patriots during Super Bowl XXXVIII at Reliant Stadium on February 1, 2004 in Houston, Texas.  |  Getty Images File Photo

Even with billions in American Football, the game has not crossed America’s borders. Here is Running back DeShaun Foster (20) of the Carolina Panthers scores on a 33 yard touchdown run against the New England Patriots during Super Bowl XXXVIII at Reliant Stadium on February 1, 2004 in Houston, Texas. | Getty Images File Photo

Which American sport has been able to graduate into the global league? NBA finals? Major League Baseball (MLB)? NFL’s Super Bowl? These are the three biggest sporting events in the USA – which are domestic US events – with little TV viewership outside the US.

Across The World

The biggest sporting events in the world – Olympics, World Cup Football, Tennis Grand Slam, the F1 auto Grand Prix, are all events that were created by Europeans – and that have gained international buy-in and participation.

Not truly global, are top events in badminton, squash, table-tennis, volleyball, cricket that are second-level events with limited participation, viewership and following.

In Our League

Among the BRICS nations, Russia, South Africa, China or Brazil do not ‘politically’ dominate any sport, the way India dominates over cricket.

Even before the 1983 Cricket World Cup began, that India won, the future of the cricket world cup was in jeopardy. Without sponsors, the ‘politically’ dominant ECB and Australian Cricket Board, (now Cricket Australia), pronounced the Cricket World Cup dead.

India Bids

The 1983 Indian economy, beginning to feel the benefits of the Bombay High, had also seen the domestic benefit of the 1982 Asian Games. Based on the success of the Asian Games, which saw a dramatic expansion of TV coverage in India, the BCCI made a hesitant pitch at the world cup.

BCCI was able to obtain the support of the Pakistan and Sri Lankan cricket Board in this bid. A rather surprised ECB and ACB allowed this bid to go through – probably sure that BCCI would make a mess of it.

Start Of The Chapter

In the next 4 years, BCCI obtained a sponsor, Reliance, organized the event – and pulled off a successful event. From 1987 onwards, BCCI’s political power has only grown in international cricket.

Twenty years after 1987 Cricket World Cup in India, in 2007, India’s major home-grown TV network, ZEE TV launched the Indian Cricket League – independent of BCCI and ICC.

Without ICC and BCCI support, the ICL was a lame-duck affair. Two years later, the BCCI launched the IPL in 2008.

Let The IPL Begin

After the first few years of hesitant growth, in the last one year, the IPL has truly changed world cricket. A few important international players have abandoned their domestic teams – and made IPL their main earning opportunity.

The hold of non-Indian cricket boards over their players has weakened considerably – as the IPL earning opportunity is an alternative. Though no player has explicitly stated this, when pushed by domestic boards to choose between national team and their IPL earning opportunity, some chose to go with IPL.

The Numbers, The Spread

With many players from Australia, South Africa,  Sri Lanka and West Indies and fewer players from England, New Zealand, Pakistan Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, IPL has attracted international player attention.

With 8-9 teams, between 65-80 games, some 250 players, with nearly a quarter of the players international, with support staff that draws the best from the world, the IPL has become a significant sporting opportunity in its sixth year itself.

Such growth in stature and with system-wide revenues exceeding Rs.2500 crores (US$500 million), ensures that IPL in the next few years will be in the Top10 global sporting events. This figure of  Rs.2500 crores (US$500 million) includes TV rights, advertising, franchise fees, ticket sales, player fees, IPL merchandise. All this without any funds or regulatory support from the Government.

Between Envy And Vacuity

Already a world leader in the film industry, for a country like India, to define, create and deliver this kind of sporting event, with its softpower implications, has aroused equal amounts of admiration and envy. While viewership data in non-Indian markets is not yet available, based on player statements, it is significant.

It is time that BCCI takes the IPL more seriously – and importantly the mainstream media and the Government too, must handle IPL with some maturity. The amount of police enthusiasm, media noise around the recent alleged spot-fixing, exposed the complete lack of judgement.

A quiet phone call while the tournament was going on – and hard actions later would have ensured that the IPL success was not compromised as it has been now.

MS Dhoni (CSK) and Ricky Ponting (MI) with Danny Morrison at MI vs CSK 49th Match Highlights IPL 2013 - 5 May

MS Dhoni (CSK) and Ricky Ponting (MI) with Danny Morrison at MI vs CSK 49th Match Highlights IPL 2013 – 5 May

Smell The Coffee

The silly moral posturing on a simple sporting entertainment shows mental vacuity – especially in the mainstream and the social media. The chatteratti, twitteratti, FaceBookeratti, the Libtards and the Righturds have great enthusiasm in out-doing each other in empty moral indignation.

This moral noise, by those with negligible achievements of their own, over alleged questionable behavior exposes their mental vacuity. These questionable actions by probably 10 people is not representative or reflective of the effort and achievements of the 1000 people who are behind the IPL event (mainly players, coaches, support staff, franchise managers, media staff, stadium staff, BCCI administrators).

All that is needed is that these 10 people are adequately and significantly dealt with – post-facto. After the event. This unholy haste, while the tournament is in progress smacks of envy and immaturity.

Be Warned

Thankfully, Bharat understands this – and will turn out in gargantuan numbers today evening, and crown the winners of a magnificent event.

If India does not start behaving with maturity, be warned. Bharat will simply cast you aside – and consign you to the dustbin of history.

Time India took itself seriously.


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13 Responses

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  1. Satya said, on May 26, 2013 at 6:37 am

    Till we Won the World Cup 2011 everything was great with Cricket n our Team. But then the unthinkable happened(for ‘India’), Dhoni(a desi boy of Bharat) shaved his head as an offering to Goddess!!

    How could Media tolerate such an act by the Captain of Indian Cricket Team. He has to go.

    And after a year the opportunity came 2 Test series losses(Australia, England). Media went full on for Dhoni’s Head. But with all the media hype, one man stood firmly for Dhoni, BCCI chief N. Srinivasan.

    It was clear that till Srinivasan is around Dhoni cant be replaced. So, strategy changed get Srinivasan First.

    Two attack on Srinivasan till now:
    > Over Son’s Relationship
    > Over Son-in-Law’s Dealings

    Guess, Goddess is very much pleased with Dhoni’s Offering!!

  2. ethicalman said, on May 26, 2013 at 6:51 am

    we never know what we have in our hands ..till it is gone..don’nt let that happen to the IPL.. I’m no fan of IPL…cause it does’nt have much competition in 9 teams..to make it intresting it has to have atleat 15 or more..

  3. Indian First (@nationfirst) said, on May 26, 2013 at 10:57 am

    This is stupid from 2ndlook.. In your enthusiasm to praise anything Indian, you seem to have ignored reason. American sports are never popular outside the US except maybe the NBA. It’s rare that they are going to build a sporting leage popular across the globe.

    Football is the world leader in Sports and Brazil is still a top team. Russians excel in Tennis and other olympics sports. China just bagged the largest tally in Olympics.. Where is India compared to that ? Just play the stupid colonial game called Cricket which does not have much of any of the important aspects of a team Sport like teamwork, tactics etc. There is a reason we excelled in Hockey in the early years because that represents Indian way of sports.

    Compared to that, this idiocy of following cricket like mad and spending hours watching it is just one more colonial hangover. FFS, cricket is not even No 1 in England.

    IPL as a global sporting brand ? Come on.. Cricket is played only by 12-13 countries and there are only 10 test playing countries (or is it more ?). All the money in cricket is due to the colonial hangovers in India and Pakistan where billions of people watch this stupidity with so much attention.

    Regarding this particular issue, I think it’s high time that betting is made legal in India and ensure that it is taxed so that the idiotic thing (even in villages I’m seeing betting going on destroying family incomes like alcohol) is regularized..

  4. Indian First (@nationfirst) said, on May 26, 2013 at 11:14 am

    “These questionable actions by probably 10 people is not representative or reflective of the effort and achievements of the 1000 people who are behind the IPL event” LoL!! Ever heard of Lalit Modi ? The European sports you mention were built over hunded years.. The fooball clubs are not some Franchisees built in 1 year but have been a part of the culture for more than 100 years. The current Champions league finalist Borussia Dortmund has over 80000 fans coming into the stadium for over 30-40 years and are owned more than 50% by the fans. Similar is the case with the other finalist Bayern Munich.

    Compare that to these IPL clubs which have absolutely no grassroot connection. They are Chennai only for namesake. There is nothing Chennai about them except may be a couple of players. They are not involved in producing young talents from Chennai or TN like the football clubs do. The fans have no say in the functioning of the club nor can they cheer for the local lads coming through. What’s more, the teams don;t even exist other than the 2 months LoL!!

    Comparing the other sports to IPL just because they generate similar amounts of money is nonsense. This stupid tournament may not even exist in 5 years with the way it’s going.. The IPL is nothing but a greedy model exploiting the tupidity of the fans (probably due to lack of quality entertainment opportunities in this country) to generate obscene amounts of money and has nothing to to with Sports or cricket. Late night parties, cheerleaders, sexual abuses, Movie stars.. Hell. It’s a shame that this is even called a Sport. It’s anything other than Sport. Tell me one other sporting even where the franchisees are owned by FIlm stars who have nothing to do with the sport.

  5. masculineffort said, on May 28, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    I’m all for taking a 2ndlook at things. But the truth is more important than just having an alternate point of view. Is Political domination of a sport really more important than on-field dominance?

  6. GK said, on June 5, 2013 at 6:52 am

    Anuraag,
    In my view, 2ndlook should not give undue importance to IPL type tamashas. God knows whose money is really owning all the teams. People must wake from the trance purposefully created and maintained by the media-sports nexus. This is really a circus as in ‘Bread & Circus’. Ultimately the people are being distracted and milked by these corporate/celebrity owners.

  7. What Gives? said, on July 18, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    I have been a long time reader of both of your blogs. One fundamental flaw I see with your thinking is the “Us vs. Them” mentality. Because of this complex, you tend to defend everything Indian, and trash everything western. This 2nd look article is along the same lines. First, cricket as a sport is a legacy of the British. Please accept that. The fact that India is now a top team is a great accomplishment for us, but this is a British sport. I am a regular follower of cricket and enjoy it immensely. That does not make the IPL a “great event” or even kosher. IPL is rank commercialism with the only intent of making good money for the so called team owners and corrupt BCCI politicians. It is not even good cricket. However, some good things have come out of it: Young Indian players have found a venue to showcase their skills and get exposure to the world. The fact that cricket can be a professional sport and players can make money and not have to rely on jobs at banks is also a good thing. Else, there is little else worth writing about on this annual spectacle. Even the founding father of this tournament was shown the door by these scoundrels. BTW, this guy Modi copied all of the IPL rules from American sports, mainly baseball. Please read a few of his early interviews. So, time for you to wake up and smell your own coffee and grow out of the double standards. You are defending the indefensible. That too just because it is Indian.

    • Anuraag Sanghi said, on July 18, 2013 at 6:52 pm

      I have been a long time reader of both of your blogs. One fundamental flaw I see with your thinking is the “Us vs. Them” mentality. Because of this complex, you tend to defend everything Indian

      For nearly 6-years I have been critical of:

      1. Anti-Gold attitude of GoI
      2. Anti-Family laws (like Sec.498A)
      3. Expansion of the State
      4. Increasing Police & Judicial activism & Intervention
      5. Excessive Reliance on English Language Education; Indifference to Indian & Other Foreign Languages
      6. The increasing trends towards Oligarchy in India

      This is just a sampler. I am sure you will find many articles that are critical of what is happening in India.

      Perhaps I am:

      - Not criticizing all those things that you want me criticize.
      - Criticizing Things That Dont Bother you.

      This 2nd look article is along the same lines. First, cricket as a sport is a legacy of the British. Please accept that.

      1. Sun rises in the East and sets in the West.
      2. Earth is round.
      3. Cricket is English sport.

      Anything else you want me accept?

      The fact that India is now a top team is a great accomplishment for us, but this is a British sport. I am a regular follower of cricket and enjoy it immensely.

      Good. Same here. We are on the same page.

      Except I don’t get the ‘us’ bit! You can use ‘us’ id you are an ‘Yindian’.

      But if you are a Brown YummRikan, the us wont apply, will it?

      That does not make the IPL a “great event” or even kosher. IPL is rank commercialism with the only intent of making good money for the so called team owners and corrupt BCCI politicians.

      Anything wrong with commercialism? Anything wrong with people making money?

      Only one thing!

      This corruption story bores the hell out of me. Do me a favour and dont repeat that story one more time.

      It is not even good cricket. However, some good things have come out of it: Young Indian players have found a venue to showcase their skills and get exposure to the world. The fact that cricket can be a professional sport and players can make money and not have to rely on jobs at banks is also a good thing. Else, there is little else worth writing about on this annual spectacle.

      You and I are both seeing the same things

      - The exposure
      - Young cricketers making money
      - Players Get to Showcase skills
      - Best players in the world come to play.

      Is this not a whole lotta of goooood?

      What more do you want?

      Even the founding father of this tournament was shown the door by these scoundrels. BTW, this guy Modi copied all of the IPL rules from American sports, mainly baseball. Please read a few of his early interviews. So, time for you to wake up and smell your own coffee and grow out of the double standards. You are defending the indefensible. That too just because it is Indian.

      Do we have to reinvent the wheel? If we have taken some elements from American Baseball, so be it! Good. What is the problem with that? I am unsure what your problem is?

      On one hand you accuse me of unwarranted criticism of things Western – but when I appreciate how Indians have taken a Western sport and become successful at it, you have a problem with that.

      Did I hear some say contradiction? Or did they say double-standards?

      India is an Open Society. We are willing to take foreign ideas and make them work for us – to make us competitive in the short run also. So, while we are accepting a lot of things that West innovates and invents, remember the West is built on Indians sciences and skills over the last 400-500 years.

      I Dont Get It

      Is it that you cannot digest Indian Success?

      I wonder why so many Brown YummRikans want to diminish Indian success? Just what is the problem with you guys? Whay do you always want to run down Indian successes?

      This is especially loathsome, when all that Indians want to is celebrate success of Indian-origin people anywhere in the world.

      Guys! You have made your choice. Live and Yenjoy in YummRika. We have no problems with that.

      Now just forget about us. We are seriously not interested in this perpetual whining from you guys.

      • What Gives? said, on July 19, 2013 at 4:40 pm

        Here we go again. India is not your “baap ki jaagir”. It is as much mine as yours. So stop the preaching and the Brown Yummrikan bull. Prove to me that you are more Indian than I am. Else shut your mouth once and for all. Your double standards are for everyone to see. You need help. Seek some.

        Your Bharat tantra model is interesting. May be you should work on how to make that more relevant than spewing venom on other Indians, wherever they choose to live. You have yourself admitted a few times that you do not know how to make this model relevant in today’s world. If you know how, then show how. And then sell it and make India a better place. Else a model is only worth the piece of paper (or bytes) it is written on.

        Who wants to diminish Indian success? I am Indian. That is my identity. You are a fool to think that just because you live in India, you are better than I am. You are not. You never will be. If you are a better Indian, then prove it to me. Else go pound sand. Is spewing hate what Indians do? I don’t think so. My parents have done better sanskaar on me than yours. At least I don’t wear tainted glasses when I see other Indians. Shame on you. And good luck with your blog. Nice job driving loyal readers away.

  8. masculineffort said, on July 21, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    Mate, Why not give Hockey some attention? Could India perhaps become a world power in hockey? Given our economic muscle, perhaps we could show the world the money in Hockey. PErhaps we could force the Intl. Hockey Fed. to switch the game back to grass? Why are you not writing anything about the switch in hockey from grass to astro turf which completely caused Hockey to become unpopular in India and favored the Europeans? Maybe it is time for all the corporates to first sponsor an across the Globe India Pakistan hockey series to be played only on natural grass. That should get some eyeballs. Promote the hell out of the Series. Show FIH the money. And like in cricket where BCCI managed to outmaneuver the Old world Whites in control ICC, maybe we could do the same with Hockey?

    Yes, I would love to see any article from you about India Hockey. You could apply your unique point of view to this under discussed topic. So how about it?

  9. Joseph Anton said, on July 27, 2013 at 1:03 am

    Hi Anuraag,

    I am assuming you are also StPT Barnum – just wanted to say I greatly appreciate your writings. They are thoughtful and perceptive. In many of these places online, we mostly go to agree with other people like us. You have been one of those few that has made me think and question some of my assumptions.

    Unfortunately, I think your websites are a little clunky and reader-unfriendly. Also, the sarcasm in much of your writing is too dense sometime, and may escape some of the simpler folk online – like the vast marauding Internet hordes. I truly think you deserve a much wider readership, and should work towards it!

    Your takedown of folks like Atanu Dey (low hanging fruit, I admit : ) and especially the exalted Rajiv Malhotra was very perceptive. Yes, I too am Yumm-rikkan as you put it and probably have a few of the issues you often mention here.

    Also, I there an “About Me” section, anywhere?

    Best.

    • Anuraag Sanghi said, on July 27, 2013 at 9:51 am

      Your takedown of folks like Atanu Dey (low hanging fruit, I admit : ) and especially the exalted Rajiv Malhotra was very perceptive. Yes, I too am Yumm-rikkan as you put it and probably have a few of the issues you often mention here.

      My ‘issues’ with YummRikans starts when they try and foist the agenda and propaganda of Pax Americana.

      The issue with YummRika is the leadership and its followers. This White leadership of Pax Americana has quite a fan-base among Brown Americans – like Atanu Dey or Rajiv Malhotra.

      Very interestingly, whenever Brown YummRikans talk of any perceived negative of India(ns) then it is ‘They’. Whenever, it is any Indian achievement in discussion the ‘They/Them’ suddenly turns to ‘Us’.

      Example! See the comment by What Gives!

      • Skeptic said, on October 27, 2013 at 4:23 pm

        Haha! Your point on YummRikans is well taken. But you also have a tendency to label anyone who disagrees with you as either a YummRikan or RNI or some such thing. This is called an ad-hominem attack. Perhaps you have had a negative personal experience with one of them and not got over it. Perhaps in your own extended family? Your writing betrays no small amount of bitterness. Yes, they tend to have a superiority complex and yes they blindly adore the west, but perhaps your emotion also gets the better of sound judgement.

        Still, I enjoy your anarchist/libertarian writings. I agree with you that, “In any country, the state is the enemy of the people.” Very Astute! Bravo!

        Kudos on your writing about Gold and Fire-arm ownership. Excellent analysis

        Kudos on Exposing the U.S. prison population and the actual lack of Freedom in the U.S. The actual non-existence of Free enterprise in the U.S.

        Enjoy your writings on Bharat Tantra! Want them to be true. Some skepticism regarding their rigor though. Any academic/scholarly rigor for the following assertions?
        1. King is not allowed to mint his own currency.
        2. No slavery? Perhaps it was not so bad among the four main castes. Here in Andhra we have Pulakeshi who was a king and a shudra. Same repeated again for Harihara and Bukka Raya. But what about the SC/STs? Were they not treated as bad as slaves or may be just marginally better? Any academic/scholarly writing or historical sources corroborating your point of view?
        3. King not allowed to interfere in business and trade?


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