March 15, 2010

IPL set for 3D debut

Call it the Avatar effect, the Indian premier League will make its 3D debut in select theatres this season. “We are going 3D... and we’ll be the irst sporting body in the world to do so,” Lalit Modi, commisioner of IPL, told ET. UFO Moviez, the official theatre rights-holder for the Twenty20 tournament, is working on showing the semifinals and final live in 3D. It will be available in cinemas, pubs, bars, and in due time, TV too, Mr Modi said in an exclusive interview. Excerpts:

How do you evaluate this year’s auction?

It went quite well and the results were by and large along the expected lines. But bid for some of the players did surprise me.

A lot of Australian players as well the entire Pakistan list failed to attract any bids. Do you think cricket boards need to be more open with their windows in terms of giving them access during the IPL?

I think this is a central issue that has cropped up across all franchisees. It’s a two-year old tournament, and franchisees are gradually learning that availability of the players is a key factor. They are ready to pay a good price if the players are available.

Have you noticed any difference in the buying trends of the franchisees over the years?

There has been a big difference. Earlier, everyone was going only for big names as they wanted star value in the team. Now, they know that winning is the most important thing. So, its important for them to have a cohesive team. They need to have all types of players in the team and they are realising it now. So, now they are ready to sacrifice big names.

What’s your favourite team in terms of the most wise buy?

I think Vijay Mallya did very well today. He managed to get the under-19 captain of India. It’s a good pick.

Did IPL make significant money today?

IPL has been consistently subsidising players. For us, it’s not the point of making money. It does not make any difference to us one way or the other. The issue is we wanted to have a system in place that could help break a tie... it’s (tie) probably never going to happen ever again.

We looked at all the leagues and other mechanism around the world and found that we’re fair.

IPL is coming back to India. I think you have done a wonderful job of enhancing the brand image of IPL. Will there be any surprise this time?

I will break the news here. We are going 3D... and we’ll be the first sporting body in the world to do so. I have seen the presentation, it’s very expensive but from next year onwards, we hope that we’ll be able to make it available for all games. This year we’re experimenting with four games—last four games will be 3D. It’s a major innovation, it will be available in cinemas, pubs and bars. We also want to introduce the spider cam wherein the camera actually moves across the ground like a spider web. Again it’s a hitech thing and we will be introducing it for the last four games. The IPL is here to build a brand and build on the consumer experience. Our job is to enhance the viewing features of the fans at home and in the stadium.