April 5th, 2012
07:34 AM GMT
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(Image credit: Getty Images)

(CNN) – It’s the fifth year of one of cricket’s most colorful events - the Indian Premier League T20.

The tournament, which includes star players from across the globe playing for various Indian state franchises, has frequently been dubbed a “money-spinner,” with a wealth of sponsors, high-profile politicians and even Bollywood stars backing the competition.

But last year’s tournament took a hit in TV viewership.

The 2011 IPL reported an average television viewer rating (TVR) of 3.91 per game, down 2.9% from five years ago, according to sports broadcaster ESPN. The final also failed to draw bumper ratings as it drew a TVR of 6.96, which paled in comparison to the 12.85 of 2010.

These problems may be unique to last year when the World Cup series held in India could have caused cricket fatigue, Rohit Gupta, president of Multi-Screen Media (MSM), which owns Set Max, the channel that broadcasts the IPL, told ESPN.

However this year’s competition has already seen regular advertisers Parle, LG Electronics and Godrej back out. Santosh Desai, head of brand consultants Future Brands, says the constant reshuffling of IPL teams has confused the fans and may be a factor in causing the tournament’s popularity to dwindle.

In previous IPL editions, at least eight sponsors have participated. This year has only attracted six. Advertising rates are also 15% lower than last year, according to a media buyer who spoke to Indian business publication, Live Mint.

The IPL has also been dogged with controversy and corruption allegations. Its founder Lalit Modi was suspended from the tournament in 2010 amid charges of misappropriation of funds from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Indian government.

Of the 10 teams, Kochi has been thrown out for non-payment of fees, while two teams still in the running, Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab, are facing arbitration in cases filed by the BCCI. Both teams are being investigated for breaching their contract agreements by changing their shareholding patterns without the BCCI’s consent. The Rajasthan Royals have also allegedly violated the Foreign Exchange Maintenance Act.

“The IPL as a property is losing its sheen. The newness is wearing off,” Anita Nayyar, chief executive (South Asia) of media buying company MPG, told Live Mint.

But it is not all bad news for Indian cricket. Rupert Murdoch's Star TV network this week acquired the rights to broadcast Indian international home matches and some domestic games until 2018 for $750 million. The contract - which does not include IPL matches - includes broadcast, Internet and mobile rights and covers a total of 96 games.

Despite the doubts about his own competition, IPL chief Rajiv Shukla was upbeat ahead of the new season. “The excitement is building up nicely. We in the BCCI are not worried at all,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

The 74-match tournament kicked off this week and will continue till May 27 with nine teams in play.

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Filed under: BusinessIndia


soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Northern2-14

    Cricket............................................................................................IT SUCKS !

    April 5, 2012 at 8:06 am |
  2. Rohan Jayakody

    Cricket do not suck. Indians do. So when Indians play cricket they suck. IPL is a useless waste of time. Since Indians have a huge inferiority complex, then need white players for their own people to watch these games. If only Indians play in the IPL no Indian would watch it. To prove it, the domestic Ranji trophy (i.e. India's 1st class cricket championship) attracts 0 Indian spectators. It is watched only by players and few dogs.

    April 5, 2012 at 8:24 am |
  3. MP4/3GP ADULT VIDEOS, GET IT NW 14YR N ABOVE

    things should be done right n cricket game will rock again.

    April 5, 2012 at 8:34 am |
  4. Northern2-14

    @Rohan Jayakody,
    Yes, Cricket does suck.

    April 5, 2012 at 8:53 am |
  5. wasso

    Who cares !

    April 5, 2012 at 9:50 am |
  6. umiiii

    @Rohan Jayakody
    You are right... Indian people are crazy about 'gori chamri' (white skin). That's why now in Bollywood movies, all the girls dancing behind Hero and Heroine are imported from Ukraine etc., dancing white girls means more profit for movies.

    April 5, 2012 at 9:55 am |
  7. Rohan Jayakody

    @Northern2-14: Cricket is the greatest sport in the Universe. Baseball is quite boring if you ask me. Players use huge gloves to catch the ball. Even Steven Hawkings will catch a baseball with such huge gloves. Try doing it with your bare hands and they you'll see the difference.

    April 5, 2012 at 10:32 am |
  8. HardBatter

    @ UMIIII do you think Indian people 'bats' looking at 'gori chamri'. Should be for those, it must be a big turn on. Batting all day long looking at 'gori chamri'

    April 5, 2012 at 10:32 am |
  9. GSS

    Rohan Jayakody seems to be a sri lankan name & hence obviously spewing venom on indian cricket – I might be wrong about his name but his pulse is surely lankan like anti indian – chill out buddy – have a beer & take a walk.

    April 5, 2012 at 10:42 am |
  10. Paul

    Indian Cricket is no more the same, Money is something which is focused, Sporting part is something which is missing for a long span. Match fixing is an integral part of Modern day Cricket, People throw away games for money. A Play like Tendulkar is not required to score his 100th Ton with Bangaladesh and go on to lose the game!!!
    Rather I would bet on a debut on to Play for the Country and score a match winning knock. Tendulkar please stop playing for Records rather play for the Country.

    April 5, 2012 at 11:29 am |
  11. Charles Alexander

    How times haave changed and I might add not for the better I'm an ex Brit and grew up loving (and playing) the game to look at the picture and see the players dressed in their "colourful" uniforms is a disgusting sight they are walking billboards and a distraction from the sport Yes I go back to the days of Don Bradman, Len Hutton and the Sutccliff brothers Oh! what great memories Yes maybe todays cricket does "suck" but I fear it is the almighty "dollar" (pound or rupee) that has dodne it . Not unlike many American sports

    April 5, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  12. AJ

    @ Rohan Jayakody.. dude easy.. easy there, calm down. I can understand your frustration. only few in T.N hate the land you come from, you want all of us(Indians) to hate you ?

    April 5, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
  13. rakesh

    well for all against cricket watch asia cup pak vs india atch answer is therer

    April 5, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  14. itsmeavi

    Rohan i dont agree with you mate if that was the case then why do IPL has players from south east asia and africa ? its a world class league as we have football league and cups. I dont support IPL as players are more interested in these easy money making models over actually playing for their nation. Please dont use such language as it could be offensive for someone.

    April 5, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  15. Mya

    @Rohan Jayakody and umiiii
    ...frankly you are both self hating Indians. The comments just show how insecure you both are.

    April 5, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  16. pinakibgl

    Test Cricket may suffer from IPL, that's for sure.

    April 5, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
  17. Jannie Venter

    Indian Criicket is the most entertaining cricket out there but the comentry is pathetic. Who is boaling, who is betting, who fields, who is backing up, who is the wicket keeper, what is the progression of the game. Who is the members of the game. The game is played out Grey. We do not know what is going on

    April 5, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
  18. wasso

    @ Rohan Your comment about Indians fawning over white skin may be true. Indians have come out with numerous bleach creams for that very purpose. Guess it must be a caste thing, ie. the fairer one looks, the higher one's caste is presumed to be..? Quite puerile really.

    April 6, 2012 at 6:51 am |
  19. sameh

    See the elephant is dying and die a very sad situation
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    April 6, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  20. Pogan

    I think keeping the tournament fresh with new ideas is probably key to sustaining the tournaments longevity. if you remember in the first one, the whole 'bollywood razamataz' was what caught the public's eye. Perhaps they need to think of new things and bring more to the table – entertainment wise – so that people tune in to watch not only the cricket, but also feel inclined to be part of something new and exciting.

    April 11, 2012 at 11:13 am |
  21. sameh

    learn english for free by video
    http://upload40.com/12602.html

    April 16, 2012 at 12:50 am |
  22. Ali

    IPL ROCKS......!!!!!!

    May 10, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
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