CHENNAI: It has been a month since IPL kicked off this year, and with no Chennai Super Kings to root for — the lack of buzz in the city is hardly a shocker. But oddly enough, with empty seats in stadiums and a steep decline in official broadcaster Sony’s TRP ratings, it turns out fans in other parts of the country may be experiencing something similar.
According to the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), the ninth season that is underway reports the second lowest TRP ratings in the history of the tournament. While this could be because of a cricket overdose — with the latest season of the IPL beginning less than a week after the World Twenty20 final, for fans in Chennai a dose of bright yellow (like the jerseys tucked away in the back of closets) is what is missing.
“After the suspension of CSK, the IPL competition has lost its charm,” says Bharath Raj, a student. Of course, diehard fans are still rooting for their favourite players through the two new franchisees that several of them are playing for — the MS Dhoni-led Rising Pune Supergiants and the Gujarat Lions.
Roshni S, a big Dhoni fan, reasons out, “It’s hard to support any other team after you’ve been rooting for CSK for the last eight years, but I suppose it would be harder for the players to go onto the field without the yellow jersey for the first time.” Sharing a similar sentiment, Tejas S lets on, “I do miss CSK, but the game must go on. Gujarat Lions have a good share of former CSK players and I’ve been supporting them this season. ”
The suspension of the home franchise has led to many cricket buffs supporting other franchisees. BBA graduate Rohit Suresh shares, “Like many other CSK fans, I’ve not chosen to support Pune or Gujarat.” Amid shifting loyalties, CSK nostalgia and getting used to Captain Cool leading a different team, fans still tell us that it’s only a matter of time before yellow flags rise once more.
“IPL without CSK isn’t as entertaining as before, but I believe the city’s love for the competition will re-ignite after the suspension period is served,” says Apoorva Shivakumar.
Further, he adds, “The yellow flags, whistles and traffic jams around Chepauk will be back soon, and the team along with the fans will be back stronger than ever.”