January 09, 2011


So, India-South-Africa Test Series concluded recently. And what a great series it was. Though India couldn't come out trumps but it was heartening to see them fighting RSA ball to ball (literally!).

But this post is not the 'post' series analysis by yet-another-wannabe-cricket-expert. This is actually about the agony of a long lost cricket lover who is just frustrated to see the deck of ads being slapped on him every second of his cricket watching moments.

I was a big cricket fan. I really was. Used to go to others' home to watch cricket since we didn't have cable TV at home in childhood. Liked to watch match from end to end and always remain scared when Sachin used to bat (thinking he will get out soon and the match will be over). Used to enjoy fall of each opposition wicket like only a true Indian fan can do. Have in memory a lot of memorable cricket moments. Well in last 5-7 years, I turned to other sports and so now cricket is not that much of a passion to me.

One can say I have moved on. But I would say I was pushed into NOT watching cricket. And I would partially blame Coke, Pepsi, Hero Honda, Airtel, Parley, LIC and other such companies for that. And more than them the very TV broadcasters, the courtesy of whom I get a live feed anyway. 

In good-old-days, there were ad intervals in between overs because the fielders used to take place and the batsmen took guard, changed ends etc. Sometimes, the match got so exciting that you desperately wanted a break, so it was good to see ads. Turn the clock to now-a-days. You see half of the first ball (bowler is already in action) and half of last ball (batsman defended, don't mind where the ball went), even half of the fall of wicket (Ball knicked the bat, it's going to a slip fielder, of course he is gonna catch, hey check out this latest ad of paan-masala).

And if that was not enough, slowly you started to get those side advertises in during overs. Replays and other 3D analysis were already sponsored, so don't worry about them. And now my new favorite TenCricket (Let's not be anonymous and POINT the culprits this time) has taken the Ad hysteria to an altogether new level by showing the ads on the grass close to wicket-keeper while the bowler is taking action. Now, all that is remaining is to see ads occupying the remaining center screen. Com'n why don't you change it to 24x7 shopping channel? Stupid me; I thought 'ads in between overs' meant "in between 2 overs". Now I know; it means "in the middle of an over".

OK, I agree cricket is a huge money game. Broadcasters have spent money lavishly to buy the cricket rights, and they have to get their money back. Every second of TV viewing is worth lacs. Every pixel of TV screen is like gold dust. But I have a question; is Cricket a more watched or higher value game than say soccer or F1? or even Tennis? OK, may be in India, what about worldwide? So, why is there not so many Ads during the transmission of those sports? OK, some of the tactics like Ads sidebar is employed there too (broadcasters are the same!) but still I can safely say, I watched more of Soccer or F1 than Advertisements.

Watching cricket now gives me a feeling that I as a viewer is being taken for granted. I don't have anything else to do, I don't have any other choice. So, come what may I will have to digest whatever crap is served on screen. Even the Ads Hungry Google doesn't do such an act!

I just hope this article/post reaches the eyes of some sports channel broadcaster (besides my friends). I am not saying don't earn money. By all means do it, but at least be ethical and care for your viewers.