Campaign India Team
Apr 20, 2010

Anant’s blog: Losing control of the conversation

Somehow, Lalit Modi seems to be able to do this again and again – lose control of the conversation.From the inception of the IPL, every now and then, the conversation moves away from cricket and to scandals and scams and his whims and fancies and arbitrary decisions.

Anant’s blog: Losing control of the conversation

Somehow, Lalit Modi seems to be able to do this again and again – lose control of the conversation.

From the inception of the IPL, every now and then, the conversation moves away from cricket and to scandals and scams and his whims and fancies and arbitrary decisions.

We’ve had the IPL moved to a new country at short notice, we’ve had the drama of the TV rights in the last edition, we’ve had the spat between news media and the IPL, we’ve had the auction/cancellation/re-auction mess. We’ve had the Pakistani players ban mess, the move of the Deccan Challengers ‘home’ games to cities in Maharashtra, we’ve had the arbitrary decision to shift the Bengaluru semi-final out of the city thanks to the blasts but despite the Chief Minister of Karnataka promising all security.

Now we have the resignation of a union minister, we have the income tax department enquiring into the ownership and income details of the BCCI, the IPL, all the teams and the team owners.

We have hints of betting, we have stories of Modi being linked to a number of teams, we have contracts awarded to his kin and his cronies. We have links to Dubai, we have links to betting, we have links to match-fixing, we have adjournments in parliament.

God in heaven. And here I was, thinking that this was all about cricket, even if its of a kind that I don’t like.

That’s the mess that the IPL is in. It’s reached a stage that the conversation is no longer about cricket but about the sordid mess that surrounds the IPL.

Will Lalit Modi stay? Will he go? Has Shashi Tharoor tweeted about the mess again? Who is Sunanda Pushkar? Who is Lalit Modi’s stepson-in-law? Why did MultiScreen Media pay a facilitation fee to World Sports Group? Was part of that paid to Lalit Modi? Is the BCCI aware of such a payment?

Till a fortnight ago, the conversation was along the lines of: Will Kolkata make it to the semi-finals? Will Sachin be able to continue his awesome run? Can you get me tickets to tomorrow’s game? Have you seen a match at a multiplex? Do you know a decent bar which telecasts the matches live? Are you free for bridge on Saturday or are you watching the IPL?

That was all cricket conversation.

And the change in the conversation cannot be good for the brands who have invested money in the IPL.

Right now, the situation is completely out of control and one can’t see any solution by the end of IPL 3.

But one has to ensure that this cannot happen again. As soon as this edition is over, the owners of the teams, the sponsors of the teams, the broadcasters, media agencies and advertisers need to speak to the BCCI and the IPL and get assurances on the way the tournament will be run in the future.

There’s too much at stake to leave it to chance and Lalit Modi.

Source:
Campaign India

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