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Change of pace

The Indian Premier League looks on increasingly shaky ground. Is this the beginning of the end?

AP

Five seasons down and the Indian Premier League (IPL) is on a sticky wicket. In May, a rave with some prominent IPL stars was busted in Mumbai, causing serious embarrassment. If that could be ignored as an inconsequential off-field activity, the more recent development of Deccan Chargers inviting bids for a sellout has again raised serious questions on the financial soundness of many IPL team owners and their interest in the business of cricket.

When it was launched in 2008, the IPL was touted as the biggest India-based sporting event. The format was nothing new and the IPL was the result of a disagreement between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Indian Cricket League, the brainchild of Subhash Chandra, which never took off. That didn’t deter corporates and celebrities from loosening their purse-strings for a share of the excitement.

Reliance Industries paid $111.9 million for the Mumbai team, India Cements forked out $91 million for Chennai and Shah Rukh Khan spent $75.09 million for Kolkata. Sony Entertainment Television joined in and paid $1.026 billion to broadcast 10 seasons of IPL.

Things didn’t stay that rosy. The high cost of acquiring big names — $2.4 million for Gautam G

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