Half an hour back, I moved from my room/office to the hall to catch what I thought will be five minutes of Big Bash (Australia’s version of the IPL). I ended up staying there for half an hour. I don’t know if the quality of cricket was decidedly superior to that of the IPL, a tournament I hardly watched in its latest edition (I keep forgetting who won, even). It was the quality of broadcast that had me hooked.
I must mention here that I was watching the broadcast on Start Cricket HD, but even the IPL was telecast on SetMax HD this year. And there was simply no comparison in terms of the quality of pictures. I don’t know if it has something to do with the nature of floodlights at the Gabba (maybe it does), but the pictures from the Big Bash were so significantly superior to that of the IPL (tough to explain this objectively, so you should watch and see for yourself). And then there was the commentary. Again, I don’t think any of the famed Channel Nine line-up was involved (the broadcast is by Fox Sports, and I didn’t hear any familiar voices), but the commentary was good while not being too intrusive. Again, there was no idiotic playing up of the sponsors (DLF maximums and the like), and then they had wired up Shane Warne as he thought aloud as he plotted Brendon McCullum’s dismissal.
There is something about the overall sound of the Big Bash telecast that the IPL misses out on. It probably has to do with the way they capture the crowd noise, but it does make one feel like one is in the stadium. Of course, I must mention here that of whatever bits of IPL I watched this year, I watched most of it on mute thanks to the insufferable commentary.
And then the ads. The IPL simply doesn’t seem to have figured out an effective ad model. They stuff the viewer with so many ads that there is little brand recall, and people mostly react to these brands with a sense of irritation. The Big Bash, on the other hand, seems to have figured out the model of fewer and shorter ad breaks, which will still keep people in their seats. I hope they are being compensated for it with higher revenue.
There is a lot that the IPL has to learn from the Big Bash. Hopefully the low TRPs of the last edition will mean that they will be open to innovation and improvement. I surely won’t mind watching the IPL if it is produced with the same quality as the Big Bash. Maybe I’m being too hopeful here..