One of the tweets about the Airtel T20 Champions league asked: ‘Who is playing? Where? And more importantly, why?’. That pretty much summed up the attitude towards the tournament. Once the local teams got knocked out in the early stages, whatever little viewer interest remained in Champions League, vanished. Iss Diwali ban gayi, gup wali.
Local team participation is a sure-fire boost to TRP ratings in sports telecasts, but those who are genuinely passionate about a sport – F1, soccer, rugby – seem to follow the sport irrespective of local team participation. Not so with cricket. The average cricket fan seems to lose interest if India gets knocked out of world tournaments, the quality of cricket be damned. Advertisers seem to speculate on such tournament and when the TRP’s don’t match expectations, they feel cheated. The poor show on TRP ratings is bound to be a dampener for future tournaments of this nature. But I hope advertisers take a long term of view of such tournaments and don’t just dump them. The quality of viewership – the real cricket fans – cannot be captured by mere numbers. The worldwide attention that such tournaments draw, the quality of cricket will only make such tournaments better.