By Baidurjo Bhose One of the biggest challenges in resumption of cricket in the post coronavirus-era has been integrating fans into the system. Despite being the biggest stakeholders, fans have been kept away from the stadiums with an eye on their safety. In fact, going into this year’s Indian Premier League, players too spoke about how they would miss the constant cheers from vociferous fans.
But 27 days into the 13th edition of the IPL in UAE, one just cannot tell that this year’s league is indeed being played inside empty stadiums. The buzz during the games seem as real as it gets and this it is an outcome of some brilliant planning and execution by host broadcasters Star India. And one man who has spent numerous sleepless nights overseeing the whole process from initiation to finally raising the curtains on what has been nothing short of a spectacle is Sanjog Gupta. But the newly appointed Star India Sports Head refuses to take credit and calls it a complete team effort.
Sanjog threw light on the initial ambiguity over the venue, the challenges that came with organising the league with an eye on the virus and most importantly, ensuring that the reputation that the IPL has built over the years of being a visual delight remains unscratched. Halfway into the tournament, Sanjog says the biggest takeaway is when people think fans have been allowed into stadiums.
“I will quickly tell you a story..there is a colleague of mine and I was chatting with him after the first week of IPL, and he told me that his parents are very keen to go for the finals. I said crowds are not allowed, and he said exactly, they didn’t even know that IPL was being played to empty stadiums. They had full plans and didn’t realise that the crowd wasn’t there and now that is a compliment. “It is a massive compliment for the entire team that has worked practically day and night to put this experience together. Both audio and visual, there is a guys who is our primary audio producer who had to sit through 100 matches over a two-month period to basically put together a library of audio references for different situations in a game and how the crowd reacts.
“So, when MS Dhoni plays against Mumbai Indians and hits a six, which is the three criteria, it sounds a certain way, but when a KL Rahul hits a four against Delhi Capitals, it doesn’t sound the same. So we had to create this library of audio references and then we had to re-record all the sounds, because we can’t take the sound from the original match because it has too much of interference. “And then of course using it, curating it and playing it live is another operation in itself, because you have to constantly watch the game and have to know where the fielders are to know that you’re not queuing the wrong sounds. So, we actually created a new workflow for it which allows the sound engineer and the audio producer to actually be able to see where the fielders are with a dedicated feed for them,” he smiled.