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IPL II could herald a critical change in the nature of the cricket industry. It will be followed by the T20 World Cup in the UK. Then the Champions League will be played in India, in the lucrative pre-Diwali season.

IPL III will be held in March-April 2010. This will lead on to another T20 World Cup in the West Indies in April-May 2010. That World Cup is being held in lieu of a Champions Trophy. ESPN-Star Sports, which has the telecast rights, has persuaded the International Cricket Council (ICC) to replace the prevalence of F50 (the 50-over format) with T20 matches.

Also Read IPL moves out and moves on

In this entire period, only one big-ticket conventional cricket series will be played—the Ashes this summer. Unfortunately, the England-Australia clash is scarcely a big draw in India, home to 70% of the cricket economy. As such, T20 will dominate the market; and the networks would love that.

According to a KPMG assessment made after the 2008 IPL, Sony/Max began the tournament by charging advertisers Rs2 lakh for a 10-second spot. Yet, KPMG notes: “The huge viewership that the matches gained pushed up advertisement rates for 10-second spots to Rs5-10 lakh."

It is believed ESPN-Star Sports charged a similar amount for the final of the 2007 T20 World Cup between India and Pakistan. A T20 match has 180 10-second spots.

In contrast, ESPN-Star Sports sources say that even high-profile one-day international (ODI) matches get a maximum of Rs2.25 lakh per 10 seconds. An ODI has 540-600 10-second spots.

Test cricket is at the bottom of the pile. In 2008, India had perhaps its greatest home season ever—defeating Australia and England and playing exceptionally. Even so, Neo Sports experienced disaster. Ten-second spots went for Rs1 lakh and sometimes less, television executives say. T20’s triumph was complete.

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