After the success of the Indian Premier League, Champions League T20 was Lalit Modi's next brainchild - another domestic T20 event. Though more global in nature, the idea proved to be no less than a gamble. While IPL hit the jackpot, Champions League was a far cry from it.
So, what led to the tournament's failure? There are quite a few answers.
First and foremost is the format itself. While the IPL promoted city-based loyalty, the Champions League left people confused. After all, not many were acquainted with the teams and their players. Though the presence of some international players helped draw people to the stadium, the popularity of the tournament may get a boost next year when it will be one-year-old.
The second reason behind the tournament's flop show was the ouster of IPL teams. India had three teams - Delhi Daredevils, Deccan Chargers and Royal Challengers Bangalore - but none could reach the semi-finals. No IPL teams meant lesser Indian fans in the stands and in front of the TV sets.
Reason number three: the timing of the tournament. After being subjected to back-to-back series, there was no respite from cricket and the fans found themselves struggling for breathing space. Also three T20 tournaments - IPL 2, World T20 and Champions League - on a trot have not helped the cause. This has certainly proven one thing, that, T20 alone should not be taken as a guaranteed success formula.
However, if issues like commercial success and cricket overdose are ignored, one can always point to the bright aspects of the tournament.
If IPL gave opportunities to only young Indian cricketers to show their talent alongside international stars, the Champions League T20 gave a similar platform to domestic players from different countries to prove their worth. Teams like New South Wales Blues, Trinidad & Tobago and Cape Cobras deserve special praise for their class. All these teams are good enough to be parallel sides to their national teams.
The Champions League also highlighted the flaws of the IPL teams. While all others teams looked well-knit and more synchronized, the IPL players had gathered from all parts of the world just before the tournament. This could be one of the major reasons for the failure of IPL teams.
With the passage of time, the tournament will also help increase the fan base of teams from other countries on the lines of fan following of soccer teams like Manchester United, Chelsea, etc. Though it will take time.
In my previous blog, I had said that even though the concept of the Champions League was a good one, it had come ahead of its time. Had it started after IPL was past its testing times, it would have been better.
But now that it has arrived, all of us will have to wait and watch if the Champions League does any better next year!