The anxiety amongst the Indian Premier League stakeholders is palpable. In a nation swept by the euphoria of the World Cup win, there is optimism that the T20 event could also bask in the glory of the one-day triumph. At the same time, there is fear that it could become a victim of overkill.The interest created by the World Cup success will spill over to the IPL as fans will throng to the stadium to see their heroes. The demand for the tickets has not been satiated and for those who missed the live World Cup action, the IPL will be the next best option.
There are concerns too. Uppermost on the mind is whether TV viewership would be able to match last season's high figures? Whether sponsors would have the money to put in two back-to-back events?
Market experts believe the 2011 IPL will find it tough to match the success of the previous seasons. Ad guru Alyque Padamsee says the blockbuster World Cup has devalued the T20 league. "There is exhaustion among the audience. If you have biryani everyday, you will lose appetite. There's been too much cricket," said Padamsee.
The IPL revenue model is based on the TV audience and there will be creased brows on whether the masses would lap it up. "The IPL has been devalued by the World Cup. Its (IPL) main attraction is the international stars and in the World Cup, all of them were present. There's nothing great to look forward to because the same players will be here. I don't think it will do as well as last year or the season before that.
"India winning the World Cup is different, the whole country was involved, whereas for the Mumbai Indians winning the IPL, mainly Mumbai and a few others who follow cricket are involved.
"The World Cup is a fight to the death. It's a struggle between two nations while the IPL is entertainment," said Padamsee.
Having exhausted a considerable portion of their budget in trying to associate with the World Cup, the interest of the sponsors will not be at the same level as well. "Sponsors will put in money, but not to the same extent they did in the World Cup," he said.
More importantly, it will be the star appeal of the India players on which will hinge the event's success. Will the stars be fresh enough to give their best?
Former India opener WV Raman said the key for the teams was to keep their players fresh.
"They will be a bit tired. It will be important for the teams to work out ways to give breaks to players like MS Dhoni, Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh, Sachin Tendulkar, who play all versions of the game," said Raman.
Following the auction this season, the stakeholders are hoping that the curiosity factor would help as viewers would be interested in checking out how the new combinations work. Except for a couple of teams, like the Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings, who chose to retain the core set-up, almost all other franchises have revamped their line-ups.
It is the first edition post-Lalit Modi, and not only the franchises, the Indian Board is also feeling the anxiety.