Indian Premier League (IPL) could be said to have started the trend of merging cricket with Bollywood. Taking this marriage forward, ESPN, which has the telecast rights for the Champions League T20, has roped in Amitabh Bachchan to endorse the series, which will be held in South Africa this September. This is probably the first time that an actor is endorsing a cricket series.
The 2010 Champions League Twenty20 will see two groups of five teams each competing in a round-robin format, with the top two sides from each group going through to the semi-finals. The set-up is a departure from the 2009 edition, which had four groups of three teams, with the two teams from each group advancing to another league stage, which determined the semi-finalists.
According to Shailesh Velandy, Vice President, Mudra Max, “This development makes sense and it will appeal to a lot of people, especially people in smaller cities.” He is confident that it would help increase viewership and if Bachchan was used in the right way, he could add the right amount of entertainment to the game.
However, he also stressed that the core of the series should still be cricket and entertainment should not dominate it.
Explaining the need for a celebrity, Nikhil Rangnekar, Executive Director, India West, Starcom Worldwide said, “The hype will get more viewers to tune in to the series. He admitted that this series was not as popular as the IPL and added that this move could help to bring in more viewers.