Edge-of-the-seat thrills with sound effects, an item number and King Khan’s appearance is not a Bollywood blockbuster or a TV serial that is pulling in eyeballs. In the age of reality TV, IPL’s Twenty20 bonanza is the new entertainment.
The new IPL cricket format is obviously packing a big punch with viewers, women in particular. TV audiences, much like those who are watching action at the stadia, seem to be lapping up the big glitzy shows under floodlights every evening. Cricket is at the centre of the action, but it is part of a package with other elements that are almost as essential.
It is obvious that the new format has proved its across-the-board appeal to audiences beyond sports lovers.
People are not watching IPL just for cricket. It is all-round entertainment with film stars, cheerleaders and also some great cricket. Whether it is Akshay Kumar rappelling across Ferozeshah Kotla or cheerleaders strutting their stuff during breaks or the spectacle of watching Muttiah Muralitharan play alongside M S Dhoni, people seem to like the mix of visual delights.
IPL has also been responsible for busting the myth that not too many women watch cricket. Women have shown a far higher interest in IPL.
Another indicator are TRP ratings that the programme has drawn. IPL began its innings with a bang and a viewership of 8.21 in six metros — Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai.