Are IPL-Style Leagues Killing Cricket? Nikhil Kamath Has A Fresh Take

Nikhil Kamath, co-founder of Zerodha, recently shared observations on social media platform X about the shifting dynamics in cricket, reflecting on the current state of the sport and making sense of future trends.

What Happened: Kamath shared images that highlighted several issues in India’s most-viewed sport. Cricket boards outside the big three — India, Australia, and England — are facing financial challenges and this financial strain is evident in South Africa’s decision to launch the SA20 league to avoid bankruptcy.

While reflecting on the fact that he sees many young kids speaking about other sports and video games, Kamath asks the question: “Is cricket fully priced in? Would you go long or short cricket franchises at today’s valuations?”

The diversification and proliferation of T20 leagues are seen as a strategic move to sustain the sport financially, Kamath says. T20 cricket, with its shorter format and entertainment value, has struck the right chord with the audience, making it a viable product for global expansion, he adds.

Footballisation: Kamath discussed how cricket has achieved the global popularity that football enjoys, primarily due to its fragmented formats. However, he said the increasing prominence of T20 leagues could change this as cricketing authorities are recognising T20 as a separate entity to streamline the sport’s growth and appeal.

With the calendar packed with T20 leagues throughout the year, there’s little room left for international bilateral series, he said, and this shift has impacted the quality and attention given to these traditional formats. Players now prefer the lucrative offers from T20 leagues, affecting their participation in national team commitments.

Evolution And Product-Market Fit: However, the emphasis on T20 cricket is about evolving the sport to fit modern entertainment demands, the Zerodha co-founder said. “T20 Cricket has found the right product-market-fit that can help scale this sport across continents,” Kamath shared in the post. “We have to stop thinking that going where the money is, is killing the sport.”

Kamath’s insights suggest that cricket is undergoing a transformation akin to “football-isation,” where leagues and clubs might take precedence over national teams. And this evolution could potentially revitalise the sport and reshape it into a product that suits audiences’ tastes.

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