Have you heard the phrase "any publicity is good publicity"? I am sure you have and it suits the cash-awash T20 tournament called the Indian Premier League to 'T'.
The IPL is back with its third edition and as usual with a string of controversies attached to it. None of the last two seasons have gone without them anyway. If the first season of the IPL had Harbhajan slapping Sreesanth and Shane Warne taking a dig at Sourav Ganguly, the second season was all the more controversial. Starting with Pakistan players keeping away from the tournament to shifting the tournament itself from India, IPL 2 too had its share of controversies.
And ever since, the IPL has continued to hog the headlines for one reason or the other. Closer we are going to the tournament the more is it in the news for wrong reasons. There was big furore after the recent IPL auction over the exclusion of Pakistan players. And just when everything seemed settled, the apprehensions over the security came to centre-stage with Telangana agitation in Andhra Pradesh and Shiv Sena in Maharashtra casting a pall on the smooth conduct. Player associations of Australia, New Zealand and England voiced their concern followed by any reassuring reply from the organisers. While the IPL matches have been shifted out of Andhra Pradesh to Cuttack, Shiv Sena's threat still looms.
Apart from all this the IPL has rubbed the very people, who give them the footage, the wrong way with the renewed media guidelines. While the TV channels can use no more than 30 seconds of fresh footage with a delay of at least 30 minutes from live telecast, websites are barred from broadcasting any of the match footages, archived or deferred. Only the so-called 'bona fide news websites' and 'bona fide news magazines' can carry information regarding the tournament. Now that's obstructing the dissemination of information and the media has called for a boycott.
The question is why do all these issues crop up just before the tournament? And while most of them are serious matters, the IPL's prolonged silence (till an issue reaches its make-or-break point), make them all look like tools of gaining publicity.
To be very honest, the official broadcaster of the tournament is doing a fabulous publicity job and I think the IPL should avoid anything that paints a negative picture. It is a big tournament which has tremendous scope, but it needs to be nurtured in a better way so that it lasts long as it is still in its nascent stage. Over-confidence anyway is harmful! Isn't it?