chapter  9
24 Pages

When Olympic Sports Lost Out: Cricket, Television and Globalization in India

The twenty-fourth day of September 2007 began as just another day on Aaj Tak, India’s most popular Hindi satellite news channel. The first news bulletin of the day opened with the headlines of the hour but when the camera cut to the news anchor, viewers saw a sight they had never seen before. Instead of the usual serious looking news anchor, dressed in a tie and suit, and sitting in the usual news studio, the camera cut to a new special studio with the tagline Café 20 prominently displayed in the background. Eight of Aaj Tak’s most prominent news anchors were sprawled out at four separate tables in a café-like setting and they were all wearing the Indian cricket team’s blue uniform. It was the morning of the India-Pakistan final in the Twenty-Twenty Cricket World Cup in South Africa and India’s biggest news channel had decided to focus on the build-up to the game, to the exclusion of all other news.