Opinion: Super Rugby can learn a lot from the IPL

Fielder throws cricket ball in

Jonhenry Wilson takes a look at a few of the lessons that Super Rugby could learn from the Indian Premier League. 

It is already that time of year for the Indian Premier League to take centre stage in the world of cricket. It's a whopping 60 matches packed into little more than a month, with eight teams vying for the coveted, big money title. It's a veritable feast of cricket action and a commercial extravaganza that is doing a lot of things right.

The more I think about the IPL the more I can't help comparing it to Super Rugby - a tournament with a similar amount of potential, but which seems to get so much wrong. Because where the IPL is a centre of both cricketing and commercial excellence, the Super Rugby experience is increasingly neither and this lack of excellence appears to be taking its toll on both viewership figures and match attendance.

When you are onto a good thing it is obviously very tempting to just keep adding. If you make fortunes from a 10-team format, then logic suggests that you will make more from a 12-team competition or a 15-team one. But in the same way that one plate of waffles and ice-cream is amazing but six leave you feeling sick, the same applies to sports.

And the IPL recognised this early. Where the initial tournament in 2008 had eight teams, by 2011 it had expanded to a 10-team format. For various reasons, that format didn't last and it has been back to an eight-team tournament since 2014. And it appears to be working. It's obviously helped by the fact that it is played in India, where there are over a billion cricket fans, so it could be argued that filling stadia is easier than it is with rugby.

But that doesn't necessarily hold true. You would struggle to suggest the people of New Zealand are any less fanatical about their rugby than the people of India are about cricket. And yet New Zealand Super Rugby teams don't pull the same size crowds as South African sides do, and the best supported SA team, The Stormers, hardly comes near to a crowd anywhere close to the size of an IPL team.

And the reason for that is that IPL continues to innovate. There is always something new - a different angle and a talking point. It's about more than playing sport, it's about creating experiences and getting people talking. From the use of the spider camera to the sponsorship of sixes, or the introduction of the orange and purple caps for performance, the IPL is always looking for another way to engage its fans and get them talking.

Talk this season has swung to the notion of a transfer window. An amazing idea! It’s a mid-season opportunity for teams to take stock of where they are and to supplement their playing resources. As any fan of football knows, there is more talk and discussion that goes on around transfer windows than there is around the matches themselves. Because who doesn't love a bit of speculation? And the IPL is looking to bring that into the mix. It’s yet another example of why they continue to flourish, packing in the crowds and generating commercial revenues. 

Long may its success continue.

The views expressed above are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Hollywoodbets.

Click here to follow us on Twitter for live updates, sporting previews, fixtures, and results.

Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

Register now and start betting with Hollywoodbets today!

Bet now on cricket with Hollywoodbets!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Give us your thoughts on our preview!