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Why we don't need CLT20

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Cricket_CLT20_overdoseFor some time, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have managed to stay profitable, irrespective of what happens on and off the cricket field. However, their earnings in 2012-13 seasons are significantly lower than in 2011-12. To be precise, Rs. 93 crore less. But the income in 2012-13 from Champions League T20 (CLT20) showed a small increase. That’s encouraging for the supporters of the CLT20.

But, what with the cramped cricket calendar, disappointing TRPs, and constant changes in the lead sponsors, is the CLT20 past its sell-by date? If you are a cricketer, viewer, sponsor, or for that matter, even an administrator, that answer seems to be a resounding YES. This article attempts to highlight the reasons for scrapping CLT20.

While IPL hit all the right spots like McGrath's bowling always did, CLT20 in comparison is a bit like Glen McGrath’s commentary. All over the place, and with little impact. Or as my boss says “a sad sequel to a great career.”

Apart from the teams from Indian Premier League (IPL), the CLT20 welcomes teams from Australia, South Africa, England, New Zealand, West Indies, Sri Lanka and sometimes from Pakistan. But these teams hardly bring any local sponsors that could financially contribute to CLT20. Quite predictably, it's Corporate India that is called upon to pitch in. And in these trying times, raising cricket sponsorship is not the cakewalk it used to be. There aren't any clamouring, bid-happy-firms lining up to see their name get associated with a tournament.

The CLT20 has had a choppy sponsorship ride thus far. Bharti Airtel backed out of a deal with 3 years still left on their 5 year contract. Then Nokia took over only to scrap the deal merely after a year. Obviously, empty stadia and low TRPs do not go down very well with shareholders. The BCCI and CLT20 supporters may want to argue that the TRPs of CLT20 have shown a gradual rise (1.06 in 2009, 1.45 in 2010 and 1.64 in 2011 – re: Wikipedia) However, this was achieved when IPL teams have been in the final 4 of the tournament, or when the match played had at least one IPL team. The hosting of CLT20 outside India on two occasions has not helped much either.

The cricketing calendar has all but lost the notion of a cricket season. With so many IPL-like leagues coming up in every cricket playing country, many players spend more time in flights than at the nets or at the gym. Injuries and fluctuating form are natural consequences. In addition, these leagues have no place in ICC's Future Tours Programs. That makes the calendar even more chaotic and taxing on the players. With the temptation of heavy financial gains involved, there is little chance the domestic T20 leagues will shut down. So, shouldn't the axe fall first on the CLT20?

Ironically enough, it may be the retiring of Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid from T20s after this edition of CLT20 that may finally prompt BCCI to do the wise thing and wrap up this never going anywhere league.



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