The second season of Indian Premier League (IPL), the shotgun wedding of cricket, cinema, celebrity, cheesecake, and commerce, is now into its second week in South Africa, but its influence is alrady being felt not just on the way cricket is played but on the way cricket is covered on the sports pages.
The table, above, is from the 29 April issue of the New Delhi edition of The Times of India.
It carries the names of four of the IPL teams as christened by their owners (Mumbai Indians, Kings’s XI Punjab, Knight Riders, Royal Challengers) . But, mysteriously or perhaps not so mysteriously, it refers to the other four teams by their cities (Hyderabad, Delhi, Jaipur and Chennai).
ToI’s reluctance to name “Team Hyderabad”, which is owned by Deccan Chronicle, is somewhat understandable: it may not want to give “free publicity” to a key competitors in the South. But what of the remaining three? The Chennai team is owned by India Cements; the Delhi team by the infrastructure company GMR; and the Jaipur team is part-owned by Lachlan Murdoch and the actress Shilpa Shetty.
Should business interests prevent newspapers, magazines, TV stations from naming teams owned by competitors? Even if business interests prevent ToI from naming teams, why the preferential treatment for the other four?
Also read: Is anything OK if it fetches a few dollars?
Sucheta Dalal on selling news and buying silence
Lazy subbing more than anything else, maybe.