No home base for IPL teams, building city loyalties tough (Lead)

March 25th, 2009 - 11:39 am ICT by IANS  

By Fakir Hassen
Johannesburg, March 25 (IANS) None of the Indian Premier League (IPL) teams will have a home base at any of the six cities being considered as venues in South Africa, so maintaining the “city loyalties” that had been built up in the inaugural T20 series in India last year will be a major challenge in the second edition.

“This has been an extremely difficult question for us,” IPL chairman and commissioner Lalit Modi admitted at a press conference here late Tuesday to announce that South Africa would be the host country.

“How do we decide which team is going to be in which location?”

Modi said there had been “intensive discussions” around this issue with Cricket South Africa (CSA) and with the IPL teams.

“We have decided that no team will actually have a home base, but what we will do is evenly distribute all the matches of every team across all venues so that each team is going to be able to play in each of the venues an equal number of times and in that way we are able to ensure that all our fans that we want to bring out here are able to experience each and every team playing in their cities,” he explained.

Asked about the problem of building up city loyalties like in the first edition, he said: “What is very important is that the teams still remain the city teams. All our teams are working with their communities across their cities in India to be building on that.

“At the end of the day, the Mumbai Indians are the Mumbai Indians and the Delhi Daredevils are the Delhi Daredevils. Each if these teams are working within their own catchment area in ensuring that their fan bases are able to watch their players in action and watch the games live. It is extremely important for us to have that continuity.”

Modi confirmed that all the games would be broadcast live at prime time in India, which is three and a half hours ahead of South Africa.

The series is expected to start April 18, with details of venues and other logistics, including a schedule, to be finalised within the next two days.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) decided to shift the Twenty20 tournament outside the country after state governments said they could not spare securitymen for the matches, that clashed with general elections.

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