The Anchor: 7 reasons why Formula 1 will never overtake cricket in this country

31 Oct,2011

By Rahul Kishore

 

I was at the F1 over the weekend and got a grandstand view. Quite impressed with the show… a slap in the face of the detractors who said we were a nation incapable of organising mega-events, especially after the Commonwealth Games fiasco.

 

I came  away with a sense of pride… at India producing a world class event. I was asked by a  friend if I saw F1 overtaking cricket in a few years. Set me thinking… the answer was a simple and emphatic: NO!

 

The reasons are obvious:

 

  1. Cricket has Sachin,  Dravid, Laxman, Yuvi.  F1 has, er, Karthikeyan.’ Now who’s he?  Dhoni is worshipped.  In India we have Vijay Mallya saying he will announce in the next two days if he wants to back an Indian team in the next  F1 in Abu Dhabi! In cricket,  entire series are planned five years in advance!

 

2.Cricket has a 100-year history. F1 is relatively new… it will take time to grow.. may be 10 years or so. It needs big money, infrastructure, commitment… do we have it in us? We have just about made one track for such a large country. Yes, it’s a start and where it goes is anyone’s guess. Races are held 20 days a year. Is it worth investing in a track in every metro and price tickets at upwards of Rs 6000?

 

3.Cricket is played for national pride. Where in the F1 world will you find a India vs Pak or Australia contest? How long will it take F1 to capture the spirit of Indianness as it were.

 

4.These race drivers have no relevance to the aam Indian. Can at max be TV heroes, in  a sport primarily meant for television viewing. In fact as I watched the race I was very impressed with the start and after the first three laps which took about five minutes, I was glued to the giant screen… could’ve easily come back home and watched it on TV, to grasp the nuances better.  On a cricket field, I can catch all the action with a swoop of the eye.

 

5.There is an entry barrier. It is an expensive sport that needs a track, money, an expensive car and a sponsor with very deep pockets. How can it penetrate into the small towns of a third world country is beyond me. It is for the privileged few, not a mass sport. However, I do see it penetrate into the middle class slowly. On the other hand, cricket can be played with a makeshift bat and ball in almost any small hamlet of the country. It is this aspect that makes it our national sport!

 

6. Cricket has created icons and genuine stars. These guys live out the aspirations of millions of youngsters. Look at a Dhoni: came out of nowhere and is India’s best ever skipper. I cannot imagine a race car driver come out of a small village in North Kerala, but in cricket a Sreesanth can!

7. The television rating points follow the fever, the hunger and the passions of the masses.  And the ad monies will chase that.  F1 has a long way to go to capture the masses.

 

We have seen EPL, tennis, badminton, golf remain the preserve of a niche audience. To my mind, F1 will stay in this genre for some time to come.

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3 responses to “The Anchor: 7 reasons why Formula 1 will never overtake cricket in this country”

  1. Shahla says:

    True & very well said….. Cricket is like a Baap of every game in our Country, although our National Game is Hockey.

  2. Aloo says:

    I agree with the views of the author. The write up is pretty incisive and thot proking. Keep it up

  3. Akash Raha says:

    It is true and yet unfortunate that the cricket madness lives on. Well written

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