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Lalit Modi lauds BCCI for doing fantastic job with IPL: ‘World’s best sports league has valuation second to none’

Lalit Modi said that BCCI deserves the credit for expanding the IPL and taking the tournament to cities that “were earlier untapped”.

The former Indian Premier League (IPL) commissioner, Lalit Modi, said that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has done a fantastic job with the league, taking the games to newer cities and markets to open up the entire country to the tournament.

Lalit Modi said that the BCCI has done a fantastic job with the IPL

While speaking to Backstage with Boria on Revsportz, “The IPL has grown to be the world’s best sports league and has a valuation second to none, and one has to say the BCCI has done a fantastic job with it. The new group in the BCCI that is running the show now has it right. They have taken games to newer cities and markets and opened up the entire country to the IPL.”

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“That is how you bring in newer constituencies of people within the fold of the tournament and it has been great to see them do that. When I sit here in Austria and see fans from across the country get behind the tournament, I have to say I am thrilled and a lot of credit must go to the BCCI for taking the tournament ahead and making it bigger and better,” he added.

Lalit, however, pointed out that there needs to be more innovation on the part of team owners for merchandising, since it has really not taken off. He said that there needs to be a centralised IPL story and ticketing is something that can be improved upon.

“Innovation not so much from the BCCI but more from the team owners. Now most teams have a strong fan base. And yet, merchandising has not really taken off. I would want to see the team owners come together and work on merchandising. It is an opportunity lost. They should open a centralised IPL store and take the story forward. Even ticketing is something the team owners can improve on. Rather than doing their own things, they should do things collectively.”

“For the BCCI, may be they should now think of a secondary league in tier two or tier three cities. That is where the appetite is, and that is where you should take the tournament. Use the September-October window earmarked for the Champions League for this. Maybe even think if the winner can be promoted to the IPL for the next season. That’s where the BCCI can go with the tournament the next few years,” he added.

Lalit said that BCCI deserves the credit for expanding the tournament and taking the tournament to cities that “were earlier untapped”.

“That is how you grow your fanbase. Many speak of Manchester United or Liverpool and Real Madrid. In our country, we have still not realised more than 10 percent of the fan potential. In a population of 1.45 billion, it is safe to say that no Manchester United can ever come close to a Mumbai Indians for example. Each of these teams will be the biggest sports club in the world and that is where the IPL is the biggest success story,” he added.

He also said that for the Indian players, it has become an “aspirational tale”.

“The second point I want to talk about is the success of the Indian players. It has successfully become an aspirational tale- something it was always meant to be. In a team that has Faf (Du Plessis) and (Glenn) Maxwell, it was Anuj Rawat who did the job for RCB. Think what it could have meant to him. In a team that has Mitchell Starc, it was Harshit Rana who did the job for KKR. That is where the tournament is a huge success. It is no longer reliant on foreign stars,” said Lalit.

“Rather, it is the Indian core that drives it. The reason the South African League (SA20) was successful this year is because the local stars are driving it. The same thing applies to the Caribbean League. CPL is now a success. The reason Dubai and the US are not successes is because they are dependent on outsiders. You need the local connection for a tournament to grow. Without it, you are always going to struggle,” he added.

Talking about the ICC T20 World Cup in the West Indies/US this year and inclusion in 2028 Los Angeles Olympics, he said that the T20 World Cup in New York will be driven by expats. He is however, sceptical about cricket’s inclusion in the Los Angeles Olympics and instead feels it would have been better to have included when serious cricket playing nations like Australia and England hosted the event.

“I think the world T-20 in New York will be driven by expats. For a one-off game, that is fine. In the US, it is still the expats who drive the sport. In the absence of local connections, you cannot really grow the sport. So while I do think the India Pakistan match will be a major spectacle and will be a huge draw with expats from all over backing it, I am seriously sceptical about cricket’s inclusion in LA.

Had it been included in Australia or England, for example, when the Olympics were being staged in these countries, I would say it was a great move. But to think that cricket will make its debut in LA, where there is no real local connection, makes me sceptical. We have to wait and see what happens but on the face of it I feel sceptical,” he concluded.


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