Loyal Fans vs. Poor Management: The reality of watching IPL live


The Indian Premier League, the biggest franchise league in the world recently concluded its 16th season. The carnival of cricket only keeps growing bigger and better every year, with all eyes on the tournament for two months. In terms of quality of cricket, it is undoubtedly the best in the world. However, does the league do enough to warrant the level of fandom it garners?

In a country like India where cricket is like a religion, fans worship their idols and go through a fair share of hassle, only to catch a glimpse of the cricketers they themselves have put on a pedestal. One can’t put on a price on the happiness it radiates for a majority of the 1.4 billion people in India. And that’s basically all the fan-going crowd gets in return after spending a significant amount of money to watch the game live.

For the grandest league in the world, one would imagine that they would deliver a memorable fan experience. Well, on most occasions, it’s memorable, but not for the right reasons.

We could shed some light on a few incidents that occurred only this season. There were reports of shortage of drinking water in stands. Not just the general stands, even the presidential stands. Imagine having to pay 30 times the price and fight for water after paying close to five grand for a ticket.

Another pet peeve for plenty of fans is the duration of the game. On an average, an IPL game lasts somewhere between three-and-a-half to four hours, at least. Compare that to a game in the Vitality Blast that comfortably concludes within three hours, having some compassion for the viewer’s time as well. Even ICC’s new mandate of switching ends within 60 seconds endorses for the game to move at a quicker pace, which was the whole idea behind introducing T20 cricket when it was introduced initially.

Photo by: Arjun Singh /SPORTZPICS for BCCI

The final of IPL 2024 took it one step further, having most of the viewers talking. Especially the patient Kolkata Knight Riders fans and those at the stadium, waiting for 90 minutes to see their team lift the trophy after the run-chase was concluded in 72 minutes.

Some reports stated that the reason for the delay was to make sure the sponsors don’t incur significant losses because the game finished before its scheduled wrap-up time. These delays are not a one-off. Even last year, the final was pushed to a reserve day and concluded close to 3 am the following day. For fans, media and stakeholders on that side of the spectrum, it was mayhem.

The fans could demand for things to change, but the reality is that there will always be the loyalists who pack the stadiums to get a glimpse of their gods. So, the people responsible might not make a change till the fans demand better. However, it shouldn’t have to come to that. As one of the biggest leagues in the world, it should be up to the organisers to take it upon themselves to sort out these issues and put the fans interest before theirs.

By Pratyush Rohra, AISTS INDIA Cohort, 2023- 2024

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