Franchises will earn unprecedented revenue through gate collections in this edition of the Indian Premier League, which, says the league's boss Rajiv Shukla, has seen a remarkable transition from pass culture to ticket culture among fans.
Shukla said he's surprised by the IPL's "roaring success" and wants to bring in more value additions to subsequent editions to make it more attractive.
"I never expected such kind of a response. We were very apprehensive before the event started because the Indian team was not doing too well; it lost two successive series [in England and Australia]," said Shukla.
"So, obviously, everybody was apprehensive, but it has gone off very well. Everybody is appreciating the success. For the first time, all the franchises have made huge money through gate money. All future matches, most of the tickets have been sold out well in advance."Tickets are selling like hot cakes; that's the good thing about IPL. People have started purchasing tickets. Pass culture in India was too much, so now we are witnessing a transition from pass culture to ticket culture and it is a good thing," he said.
'The spirit of cricket is being displayed in this IPL'
Shukla said despite the absence of Pakistani players in the event, IPL has managed to grab eyeballs across the border as well.
"...we are getting huge response from the internet. It's a huge chunk of internet viewership throughout the world. Overseas viewing also has got a very good response. In a country like Pakistan, you know Pakistani players are not playing, despite that people there are watching IPL," Shukla said.
"Even in Caribbean Islands, IPL has been shown. So, in every nook and corner of the world, the IPL is been shown. The matches have also turned out to be nail-biting. Matches are ending in the last over, last ball; people are liking that. The spirit of cricket is being displayed in this IPL," Shukla added.
Asked if anything new is being planned for the coming seasons, Shukla said, "We will look for value addition. This time also we went for a new concept such as the owner's league which is also being shown on TV.""Owners are playing against each other. The Super Six is also going on. These two are the new elements and in future, we will be adding more features," he added.
'People have no complaints, cricket is now sacrosanct'
Shukla, however, dismissed suggestions that the sellout crowds at the IPL are an indicator of the dwindling interest in the ODI and Test formats of the game.
"It's not about the format of the game that people are coming to IPL. It's the way the tournament is organised, efforts of the BCCI and franchises.
"The best players of the world are participating, the performance, fighting spirit. The rules are being followed. The way the show is put up, people are liking it. Moreover, there is total transparency in everything," he explained."...whatever complaints people had have been removed. Cricket is now sacrosanct. Off the ground whatever is necessary from the entertainment point of view that is being done. The franchises are happy, BCCI is happy and the spectators are happy. It's a win-win situation for all."
'The franchises now feel that their voice is being heard'
On the policy of players' retention for the next IPL, Shukla said the matter would be deliberated upon in the next Governing Council meeting.
"That has not been decided as yet. Right now, I can't say anything on it. We will take a decision at the Governing Council meeting," he said.
Shukla said the franchises are equal partners in the league and would be taken into confidence before any big move.
"I see the franchises as partners in this show. We have to give them full respect. We have to understand their issues and try to resolve their problems. That is why we have started meetings with owners.
"The franchises now feel that their voice is being heard. We are not tinkering with the rules, the rules are there and followed by everybody. Rules are being maintained, transparency is being maintained and it is a level playing field for everybody," he said.
Shukla dismisses dip in TV ratings
Despite the full houses, the TAM ratings for IPL have been low but Shukla is not too concerned.
"The only thing I can say about TAM rating is that the paradigm has shifted. Now TAM has gone to towns which have more than a lakh people also. Earlier TV serials which used to get more than 8 ratings were considered to be good, now if the serials get 2 to 3 ratings, they are considered to be successful.
"Keeping that yardstick in mind, IPL is a huge success. We need to find out that when the stadiums have full houses, matches are ending in the last over, and there is a huge rise in internet viewership, how come the TAM ratings have gone down a little bit. We are analysing the matter," he said.
On whether the IPL will remain a nine-team affair, Shukla said, "That is an issue which has to be deliberated upon in the Governing Council meeting."
Shukla said he has tried to do his best in managing the league."Whatever job has been given to me, I have tried to deliver to the best of my ability. It is for the BCCI members to judge me," he said.