One keeps looking out for innovation in IPL, but of late it hasn't been all that obvious. Lionel Richie as an opening act? Johnny Mathis must have been busy. Matthew Hayden's Mongoose? Looks a bit like Bob Willis' bat with the flow-through holes; Saint Peter batting mitts are surely overdue a revival. The only genuinely intriguing step this year, bringing the IPL to YouTube, was forced on Modi by the collapse of Setanta; otherwise what Modi presents as 'innovation' is merely expansion by another name, in the number of franchises and the number of games.
Since Modi's Mumbai sign-off, much commentary has been focused on the brand-dilution potential inherent in its scandals. MS Dhoni doesn't think we should worry: 'IPL as a brand can survive on its own.' Shilpa Shetty, 'brand ambassador' of the Rajasthan Royals, tweets that we should: 'Custodians of Cricket must not hamper d Brandvalue of this viable sport.' Hampering d Brandvalue, insists new IPL boss Chirayu Amin, is the furthest thing from his mind: 'IPL's brand image is strong and nobody can touch that.' Harsha Bhogle, however, frets for the nation: 'Within the cricket world, Brand India will take a hit.'Not much more than a week after Modi's first tell-all tweets, the media was anxiously consulting Brand Finance's managing director, Unni Krishnan. Had there been any brand dilution yet? It was, said the soothsayer gravely, 'too early to say'. He could, however, confirm the following: 'The wealth that can be created by the brand is going to be substantially significant for many stakeholders. A conducive ecosystem has to be created to move the brand to the next level… We have to build the requisite bandwidth to monetise these opportunities.' Er, yeah… what he said. Anyway, placing a value on the IPL brand has clearly been quite beneficial to Brand Finance's brand.