5 aspects where Big Bash is better than IPL
There are a lot of things to be admired about the Indian Premier League (IPL). It has established itself as an international-level league, made a lot of players financially well-off, provided a stage for young talent, and given the Indian public something to look forward to in peak summer.
It is a shining beacon of India's soft power in general and its unique position as a cricketing superpower. Yet, it is not the most well regarded Twenty20 league in the world. Not anymore.
Without even dwelling on its troubled headlines, like spot-fixing, banned franchises, obfuscating administration, bankrupt, tainted, absconding (take your pick) ex-owners or the selectively revealing tweets from founder and ex-IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi, the IPL has been left behind; purely on spectacle and marketing.
Australia's Big Bash is the younger league but its maturity is exemplary. Debuting in 2011, it has rapidly become the Aussie summer's marquee attraction by packaging itself anew for children and moms. It is a quick 3-hour entertainment package filled with enough glitz, glamour and pyrotechnics to hook the family into returning for the next games. Since its inception, it has been nothing short of a resounding success throughout Australia and the global cricketing community.
Also, thankfully, unlike the IPL, it doesn't have Bollywood kitsch dragging it down. Ever since it began, the innovations in the IPL have been limited to cheerleaders and strategic timeouts, a terribly disguised attempt at squeezing in more ad time. Have a look at the image below.
The proximity to the cheerleaders notwithstanding, the crowd has to watch the game through a metal cage, even after getting a front row seat! Big Bash works because it cares about the viewers at home and the crowd in the stadium. Here are just 5 of the areas where it has stolen a march over the IPL.
#5 Crowd Experience
Try getting into the Chinnaswamy or Wankhede Stadium for a match, and you'll understand the pains a fan in India has to endure to get to watch a game. The heightened security, 4-hour long queues, bad washrooms, restricted movement in the stadium, and overpriced food are all mood dampeners. IPL should be thankful that people still turn up.
Contrast this to the surfeit of creative props, both sponsored and crowd-made in Big Bash. Compare the seating infrastructure in India to the pool seats and grass banks Down Under. They consciously keep it family-friendly with 4 seats for $40, which is light on the pocket and high on returns. The experience is less expensive and more intuitive. It is by design not by default; which is precisely why a Melbourne Derby game draws a bigger crowd than a Boxing Day Test. The current record stands at 80,883 for a game.
The Big Bash has now got better average attendance than the IPL when compared with the captive audience they have. The eighth BBL season sneaked into 10th position as the most popular league by attendance. 928,585 people passed through ticket turnstiles over 35 games, netting an average attendance of 26,531. That's just 9 people per match less than the IPL! Bear in mind, India adds the population of Australia every year.