Mumbai: The chief executive officer of the Champions League Twenty20, Sundar Raman, talks in an interview about similarities between the inaugural cricket tournament next month and the Indian Premier League (IPL), and plans to expand the IPL from eight to 10 franchises. At IPL, he is chief operating officer. Edited excerpts:
Thinking big:Champions League CEO Sundar Raman. Harikrishna Katragadda / Mint
How different are the Champions League Twenty20 and the IPL from each other?
Honestly, one should not look at what is different, but how it’s going to be bigger and better. You have to realize that something looking like IPL, because of the entertainment appeal, has become table stakes (minimum requirement) these days. Any large tournament or sporting event is required to add in a certain bit of entertainment because the audience profile, both at stadium and on television, is expanded to include a high percentage of kids, women and the entire family.
This is just the cherry on top. What is going to be exciting is the game that’s going to be played in the 22 yards, that’s going to be intense. One would expect to see far closer finishes in this format.
How do you hope to create audience interest in the Champions League? Will there be enough interest in domestic teams?
That is a myth. If you look at a team like Wayamba, you may not have heard of the team, but 13 of the 15 players listed in their squad are international players from Sri Lanka… That’s higher than IPL teams in most cases. Look at the New South Wales team: It could practically be the team that played the Ashes. It’s not very different from international cricket because it is players who play for their clubs who go on to play for their country.
At some point there was talk of staging IPL twice a year. What is the development on that?
I don’t think we looked at two IPLs at any point of time. We said that we would have 10 franchises and we need to fit them into a window of 94 games within an available period. We are progressing on that and working very hard on the next two franchises, the time and the schedule. As far as other two franchises are concerned, timelines have been worked very clearly towards the end of this year or early next year. It’s a tender process and people who bid the value for the city will get the rights.