Continuing Samir Chopra’s and my series on “Cricket In Unexpected Places,” Page 3 of the New York Times‘ Business section had a good write-up on the IPL scandal over the weekend. Nothing new, but it puts all the pieces together and includes an interview with the man himself, Lalit Modi:
In an interview, Mr. Modi, 46, denied that he had done anything wrong. He said his relatives invested in the I.P.L. three years ago because they had faith in him.
“In the beginning, nobody wanted to come in,” he said as he smoked a Dunhill cigarette on a terrace of the Grand Hyatt Hotel here. “All the people who came in were friends and family who believed in the idea. The entire media said this was a lousy investment, it’s not going to work.”
Even his critics acknowledged that Mr. Modi, who previously helped bring ESPN andDisney to India as their local partner, had succeeded where others had failed. Cricket is as important to Indians as basketball, football and baseball combined are to Americans. But officials who oversaw the sport were never able to fully exploit its appeal.
Mr. Modi said when he first joined the organization that oversaw the sport, the Board of Control for Cricket in India, it collected just $300,000 in revenue per match, primarily from ticket sales and broadcasting rights.
Now, he said, each of the 56 league games a season brings in an average of $30 million. Games attract audiences of 20,000 to 55,000 depending on the stadium. On television, the current season has reached about 138 million viewers, up from 121 million last year, according to TAM Media Research.