The Problem With ICL
I was at City Center, Banjara Hills for lunch with Santhosh. The lady at Indijoe asked us to wait for 20 minutes. We gave her Santhosh’s mobile number and walked away to explore the mall. A few minutes later I saw Hemang Badani pass by. He’s joined the ICL, I told Santhosh. Who seemed quite surprised. The question, what exactly Badani was doing in Hdyerabad when the ICL was underway in Panchkula did occur to me, briefly, but I ignored it.
It was only when I visited my cousin’s place while Chennai Super Stars was playing Hyderabad Heroes that reality dawned: the match was being played in Hyderabad at the good old LB Stadium! Badani plays for Chennai. Surely, I said to myself, I must have missed all the hoardings that the ICL had put up all across the city. But the sad fact is there were no hoardings at any important place in the city. When I did spot one (in an obscure corner near Chaderghat circle!) it only gave TV timings and said nothing about the match venue. No wonder the crowd was thin at the stadium, even though it was a weekend.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist’s brain to understand the importance of a packed or almost full and noisy stadium when it comes attracting TV audience to watch Cricket. It happens all over the world. How interesting, for example, would a EPL Football match be without the home crowd singing songs for its team in unison?
Panchkula may not exactly be a big dot on the cricketing radar in India, but Hyderabad surely is. It can give you the crowds, but not if you take them for granted. Sadly that’s what Zee seems to be thinking here.
I have always believed that Zee lacks the ability to promote its content properly. But I was wrong. It’s not the ability, it’s the desire to promote its content that’s absent. Case in point: how many people knew about the Cricket-based reality show called Cricket Star that aired last year? Any other channel would have made much hoopla about it, but not Zee. As a result, the show went almost unnoticed from start to end.
In all fairness to Zee, this was the first of 11 matches to be played in Hyderabad. And now that I know, I might actually go and see a game or tow. But it’s not a very bright prospect.
And while I am at it, here’s an ad that appears on the ICL‘s website:
The greatest battle in Cricket history, eh? Played to near-empty stadiums I guess. And notice, no mention of the venue!