Why this could be the last World Cup in the Caribbean
know that the Caribbean will not get to host any more World Cups. There is a one word reason - television. When the West Indies won the World Cup hosting rights in 1998
, cricket was not the huge 'made-for-TV' spectacle that it is now. Fights for TV rights
were unheard of and Kerry Packer
happened two decades earlier.
It was perhaps only around the late 90s, when India began to have a consumerism boom that media magnates felt that the best way to make money out of cricket was to ensure that they had the TV rights for internationals (preferably only ODI cricket, if that was possible). The next bunch of people who realized that there was money to make from cricket telecast in India were manufacturers of consumer goods (bikes, soaps, televisions, soft drinks, etc.). The enormous power that they wielded, as a result of sinking in a lot
of moolah into cricket telecasts and advertising, meant that the game transformed from being a spectator sport to being an audience sport and the emphasis firmly shifted from test cricket to one-day cricket.
As a result, games were scheduled based on ideal slots for television, rather than on the basis of what the best time to play the game was. In Australia, viewers frequently complain (or used to) that Channel 9 switched to the news or some other TV show if the day's play got extended for some reason or the other. So, Cricket Australia advanced the starting time by half an hour. I think this year's Ashes series
was the first time this happened. During the 2003 World Cup, most games, including the final
, were day games
. Day games started at 8 am GMT while day-night games started at 1230 pm GMT. The primary reason was that day-night games would only start around 6 pm IST and end around 2 am IST the next day.
Such a schedule was clearly unacceptable to the primary sponsors of the tournament (LG, Pepsi, Hero Honda etc.) whose aim was to ensure that the huge TV audience in India (Bangladesh, Pakistan & Sri Lanka were never going to be talked of in the same breath) got to see the games during their daytime when they could pummel the audience with two ads after every over/wicket and several others during other breaks of play
I'm sure there are several other instances of television/production houses dictating cricket schedules. The Indian cricket team does have a few chaps who can bat and bowl and play some attractive cricket. That is just one part of the reason why they play in Ireland
and Abu Dhabi
. That is also why other boards queue up to have India play on their shores
more often than others.
Given that TV rights and advertising revenue accounts for a major portion of the revenues that cricket boards get from cricket, it is fairly obvious that they will do just about what is required to ensure that the major TV audience watches games at a convenient time.
This World Cup's games start at 8 pm IST and go on until around 4 am IST. This is as inconvenient a time as you can get, for Indian audiences. It is for this reason that I'm fairly sure that this will be the last World Cup that the West Indies gets to host.
Labels: 2007 world cup, india, television, tv rights, west indies, world cup