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IPL only heading north in popularity stakes

London, May 29 (ANI): The second version of the Indian Premier League, which was played recently in South Africa, has only confirmed one thing – that the shortest version of game cricket is headed northwards in the popularity stakes.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the result in South Africa was better than expected in terms of match attendance.

Last year’s tournament was the most watched event on television in India, and there was bound to be second-year blues as the curiosity faded and largely mainstream cricket fans made up the dedicated audience.

Purists continue to criticise the tournament as “crickertainment”, more concerned with keeping crowds occupied than on the contest at hand.

But Twenty20 chugged past those quibblers many sixes ago, and the hot tip is that tournament supremo Lalit Modi has ambitions to take his baby to the United States – the last bastion of unconquered television rights for cricket, a potential goldmine.

With a large population of expat Indians, Pakistanis and Sri Lankans residing along the East Coast, it’s no wonder American businessmen are already devising plans to set up their own T20 leagues, like Allen Stanford – albeit with less legal furore surrounding business operation.

But the IPL must return to India next year, where the care factor is incredible and the multimillionaire moguls behind each franchise reap most benefit.

Cricket South Africa chief executive Gerald Majola said the success of IPL two had proved one thing – traditional cricket must become more attractive if it is to survive.

“Properly handled, the IPL concept will bring about the real globalisation of the sport for the first time,” he said.

South African cricket commentator Neil Manthorp determined that for many obvious faults, IPL two had opened the door for his own country to capitalise on T20’s potential.

“If the ability to market a sports tournament is usually a science, then the IPL and its South African partners raised it to art,” Manthorp wrote on website Supersport. (ANI)

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