Tag Archives: Indian Premier League

How journalists are aiding the decadent IPL

The academic, writer and critic Mukul Kesavan in The Times of India:

“The IPL is, in media terms, such a honeypot, that the traditional distinction between pundits in the electronic and print media paid to comment on sport and the commentators contracted to describe and celebrate it on television, has dissolved. We have seen people wearing both hats without the slightest self-consciousness….

“The people who run the IPL and the journalists who cover it, seem to positively celebrate the fact that IPL teams are playthings of the rich and famous….

“When the governors of cricket in India begin to use female bodies to sell tickets and capture television ratings you know that a cricket tournament has lost its bearings and become something else. And when the journalists who enable the tamasha and the audiences who watch it begin to take the dancing girls for granted, there is a larger sickness abroad.”

Read the full article: Decadence and the IPL

Also read: Indian cricket reporters are too soft on cricketers

Why a unique newspaper isn’t covering the IPL

The Times of India, indiatimes.com and IPL-4

How come no one saw the IPL cookie crumbling


Why the watchdogs didn’t bark during IPL loot

The kerfuffle in the Indian Premier League (IPL) has brought to the fore the conflict of interest that helped prevent the scams and controversies from being detected or reported earlier.

The former Somerset captain and cricket writer Peter Roebuck writes in The Hindu:

“Cricket tolerates widespread conflicts of interest.

“Besides taking seats on the IPL governing body, Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri also cover the matches on television. Doubtless they also contribute columns. In effect they are writing their own reviews.

Harsha Bhogle assisted the Mumbai Indians. None of them is in a position to subject IPL to the scrutiny required by their media responsibilities….

“It may seem churlish to suggest they cannot have it both ways. Sincerity, though, is not the issue. Every estate has its part to play. As has amply been proved in India over the last few weeks, the media is the watchdog. All the more reason to insist that it is free to bark whenever it sees fit.”

Read the full article: Conflicts of interest abound in cricket

Also read: How come no one saw the IPL cookie crumbling?

Aroon Purie‘s rule no.1 in journalism: ‘There are no gods’

Look, who’s also in the IPL racket? An editor!

‘Dubai is a haven of information for journalists’

Dubai is a recurring theme in the ongoing tragicomedy in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Shashi Tharoor, who has to give up his ministership, was a consultant with a Dubai firm before taking the plunge in electoral politics. His close friend Sunanda Pushkar lives there. The new head of the Cochin IPL franchise Harshad Mehta is a resident of the city. Etc.

Plus, there are is the betting and matchfixing angle with a Dubai edge.

K.P. Nayar explains in The Telegraph, Calcutta:

“For a journalist with a ‘nose’ for information, Dubai is one of the most open places in the world. Once a newsman has won the trust of an Arab, howsoever sensitive his position may be, he will share information with you which will be wrapped in multiple layers of secrecy in most other countries.

“In my decade-long experience in Dubai, people share information with trusted journalists in the full knowledge that it will not be written about — until after decades, as in the case of this narrative. Unless, of course, the journalist is seeking a one-way plane ticket out of the Emirate.”

Read the full article: The edge of a precipice

Photograph: courtesy Follow the money

‘Rule No. 1 of journalism: There are no gods.’

Three weeks ago India Today magazine put Lalit Modi, commissioner of the Indian Premier League (IPL) of cricket, on the cover with the line, “Billion-Dollar Baby”.

It puts him on the cover again this week, with the line “Run Out”.

Editor-in-chief Aroon Purie in his letter to readers, offers a muted mea culpa:

“Rule No. 1 of journalism: there are no gods. And if they appear to be so they usually have feet of clay.

“So it was with a fast-talking dynamic 46-year-old man who came from nowhere three years ago and became the god of cricket in India. This is none other than IPL commissioner Lalit Modi who is today embroiled in controversy.

“It is rare for India Today to fete someone on the cover for spectacular achievement and then put them on it within the same month for being in trouble. It was, however, inevitable as the IPL is not only a phenomenon that has revolutionised cricket but last week shook the government and led to the exit of one of its ministers.”

Also read: How come no one saw the IPL cookie crumbling?

The scoreline: different strokes for different folks

Look who is also in the IPL racket? An editor!

How come no one spotted the Satyam fraud?

How come no one saw the election worm turn?

How come no one saw the IPL cookie crumbling?

The collapse of the Indian Premier League (IPL) pack of cards is identical to the unravelling of the Satyam fraud in 2009, from a media perspective. Namely, no media organisation—newspaper, magazine, TV station or internet website—saw it before it happened.

Or wanted to see it coming.

The player auctions, the franchise bids, the television rights, the glitz, the glamour, the sleaze were all unquestioningly swallowed and spewed out with nary an eyebrow raised.

Just three weeks ago, India Today magazine was putting the the IPL commissioner Lalit Modi—now accused of conflict of interest, nepotism, shady deals, corruption, sex, drugs, betting, match-fixing, and worse—on the cover, with a couple of cheer girls.

Till a week ago, The Times of India was happily having it both ways.

So, did nobody see it coming? At least one hand has gone up. Former Outlook magazine* journalists T.R. Vivek and Alam Srinivas co-authored a book on the IPL’s marriage of cricket and commerce last year.

In an interview with rediff.com‘s Krishnakumar Padmanabhan, Vivek says the red flags were visible from the very beginning.

Q: As an observer of the IPL from the early days, did you see any early warning signs? If so, what were they?

A: The very fact that cricket was being taken ‘private’ in one stroke was a red flag for me. It was quite similar to the East European countries embracing unfettered free market economics straight from the lap of Communism without any necessary groundwork for the transition. I was in a minority when I first raised questions about promoter motives, and antecedents.

What do a Mukesh Ambani or a Vijay Mallya know about the game to become cricket entrepreneurs? Are they here because it is their passion, or is it because owning a sports property was cool, and it propelled their social status higher than the already rarified echelons?

The franchise auction process left a lot of questions unanswered.

Another red flag for me was whether the Board of Control for Cricket in India had the management bandwidth, execution capabilities to embark on a novel idea such as this.

* Disclosures apply

Read the full interview: ‘Modi tinkered with the rules all the time’

Also read: How come no one spotted the Satyam fraud?

How come no one saw the worm turn?

The scoreline: different strokes for different folks

Look who is also in the IPL racket? An editor!

The Scoreline: different strokes for different folks


The second season of Indian Premier League (IPL), the shotgun wedding of cricket, cinema, celebrity, cheesecake, and commerce, is now into its second week in South Africa, but its influence is alrady being felt not just on the way cricket is played but on the way cricket is covered on the sports pages.

The table, above, is from the 29 April issue of the New Delhi edition of The Times of India.

It carries the names of four of the IPL teams as christened by their owners (Mumbai Indians, Kings’s XI Punjab, Knight Riders, Royal Challengers) . But, mysteriously or perhaps not so mysteriously, it refers to the other four teams by their cities (Hyderabad, Delhi, Jaipur and Chennai).

ToI’s reluctance to name “Team Hyderabad”, which is owned by Deccan Chronicle, is somewhat understandable: it may not want to give “free publicity” to a  key competitors in the South. But what of the remaining three? The Chennai team is owned by India Cements; the Delhi team by the infrastructure company GMR; and the Jaipur team is part-owned by Lachlan Murdoch and the actress Shilpa Shetty.

Should business interests prevent newspapers, magazines, TV stations from naming teams owned by competitors? Even if business interests prevent ToI from naming teams, why the preferential treatment for the other four?

Also read: Is anything OK if it fetches a few dollars?

Sucheta Dalal on selling news and buying silence

Forget the news, you can’t trust the ads either

Why the great Indian media dream crashed

Rs 60 crore for hoardings to promote the launch of a television channel; Rs 1 crore per day for programming.

Hindustan Times editorial director Vir Sanghvi on why the great Indian media dream came crashing down:

“Many publishing houses ventured into businesses and products they had no understanding of, believing that the revenue from their existing cash cows would increase so dramatically that they could subsidize losses in the new businesses.

“That dream is now dead. That’s why some publications are closing down and others are certain to follow.

“In the TV space, the situation is even worse. Two years ago, venture capitalists believed that the boom would last forever. Not only would ad budgets keep rising but the stock market would sustain absurdly high valuations for media companies.

“Much of the expansion of the last two years has been based on these mistaken calculations. TV companies have spent so much money that it is hard to see how it can ever be recouped.”

Read the full blog: Why media suffers, while movies, IPL prosper?