WWF (World Wrestling Federation) is one of the most entertaining franchises in the USA—now starting to grow globally. Master-choreographed, most people enjoy the sheer entertainment value even though the performances are scripted. There is a lot of drama and music; there is a lot of spectacle and a parade of movies stars built around creating pressure before declaring the winner. It makes a ton of money and it is highly addictive to a young generation that is growing up with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder).
Try to replace the initials WWF with IPL (Indian Premier League) and some of the facts remain the same. It is sad to note the state of affairs leading to the recent outrage of IPL fans. The media and other cricket experts have lately been debating the situation with a constant barrage of new sordid details on match fixing, refusal to resign and how the game has been tarnished etc. When I look at it all I think the founders of IPL may have been inspired by WWF at least on the entertainment quotient.
Drawing similarities, the IPL and WWF both claim to give the fans what they want: a shorter match since they cannot stand the long ones, they have got it; pulsating music— check; batting and not bowling—they have it and to top it all they want to mix the game with movie stars – they have it too (the guess was easy!). However, I think the fans of IPL unlike the WWF, do not want their games scripted (fixed)!
The fans want the suspense of the winner, they want the table to be set fair, this is where the IPL management is foxed since given the scale of money that is involved to achieve all of the above they cannot produce quality entertainment unless it is well-scripted like a reality show. It will just not produce the TRP’s, stadium audiences, sponsors and in turn the valuations that they can charge for each team. The business model does not jive so the fans need to decide if they want it all; and if they do then it is going to be scripted to perfection or be done with less-popular players and no cheer leaders, no Bollywood stars etc. Is it not what a test cricket looks like?
But beyond the TRP’s and master-scripts, what is it that makes the game of cricket a game admired by billions of fans and cricket purist over the world?
Your thoughts are welcome.