The Indian Premier League or IPL as it is better known as, has changed Indian sports for ever. Therefore, it is worth examining how deep the impact has been on the larger picture of Indian sports.
The IPL, modeled on the English Premier League, came into existence in 2008 as a T20 cricket championship. But the astronomical figures that business around this venture saw, gave a complete new identity to ‘club’-cricket, as it were.
Now the Billion Dollar extravaganza has impressed upon other Indian Sports, namely football, hockey and badminton.
The first Indian sport to jump on the IPL ‘bandwagon’ was Indian Hockey. Hockey India, the official hockey federation, inaugurated its IPL-style field-hockey tournament in January this year. Hockey India League as it is called was played for a span of 28 days covering 34 matches. Minimum base price for an Indian player was US$2,800 and for overseas player was US$ 5,000. Sradar Singh bagged a contract of $ 78,000 while Sandeep singh was paid $64,400.If TV ratings are anything to go by, then this HIL is a great hit. It brought the country’s attention back to her national sport. It was even beamed on international sports channels in Australia and the US. A hockey fan says it all “This league has brought hockey from its coma bed, back to life”
The next entrant was Indian football. The multi-crore football league is all set to take off in January next year. It proposes to bring international stars like David Beckham to the Indian football fields. Baichung Bhutia, the poster boy of Indian football has shown great interest in the proposed league, saying that it would help Indian football in many ways. Trevor Morgan said that if this league can have fifty percent of the impact that IPL had, then it would be a lot for Indian football.
The Badminton Association of India is also not ready to sit back. It has just launched its inaugural edition of ‘Indian Badminton League (IBL)’ this week The IBL featuring 6 teams has already caught the imagination of the sports enthusiasts. . Aamir Khan and Deepika Pdukone are the brand ambassadors of the League. The highest paid player Lee Chong Wei, had bagged a whopping $135,000 and the Indian heartthrob Saina Nehwal has been paid $120,000. Even the most ordinary players have got not less than $3,000. With money flowing all around badminton, gone are the days of seclusion. In these few days after the start, the television ratings are also very impressive. Badminton is slowing becoming one of the most glamorous games played in the country.
With all this pomp and show, Indian sports has made a new beginning for itself. Sponsorship is flooding games like badminton and boxing. The otherwise unknown sportspersons are becoming household names. The bolloywood is making full attendance in these events, helping the organizers to reach out to the masses.
Whether the IPL is a perfect model to be followed or not, is debatable. But as long as, due recognition and financial rewards come to sports other than cricket, we should appreciate it.