Back in 2008, no one could have imagined IPL being played without crowd. I mean, the whole point of the tornament was to pull crowds. 

And the biggest cricket league in the world was designed to serve that purpose. 

IPL crowd stadium
Source: The Sports Rush

There was an over-the-top opening ceremony, there were movie stars in the stands, there were cheerleaders (who weren't treated all that well), there were parties. So on and so forth.

Eventually, a lot of things were stopped for various reasons, but the crowd kept coming in because it's India, and it's cricket.

crowds in IPL
Source: Cricket Addictor

Year after year, even as many of us lost interest in the tournament, the stadiums continued to be full. Sometimes, even for a practice session. 

So, this time around, it's a bit odd. Crowd was half the fun of IPL. Yes, even for people watching it on TV. 

It just feels odd to see players from different countries fighting it out with no one to cheer, no one to catch the ball when it flies into the stands, no one to occasionally come running inside the ground (not ideal, but you know...).

IPL without crowd
Source: Hindustan Times

Add to that, the absence of banners and claps. 

It's just not the same. 

People are the essence of the IPL, and with them not there, it just isn't effective. 

Now, this is not to say that the players aren't trying their best. They are still trying to entertain us and taking all the risks for the love of the game.

Similarly, BCCI is trying to make the environment seem as authentic as possible. With the cheers and all. 

Cheers, well.

I think it's safe to assume that it will take people some time to come around the fake noises in IPL. Because, you know, they are QUITE fake. 

Premier League etc, everyone is doing it to make things seem more 'real', for the lack of a better term, but BCCI overdid it. Hence the jokes.

Crowd also becomes important when you think of players like MS. In a matter of 2 or 3 seasons, he is going to retire from IPL too.

So, it would have meant a lot for him and his fans (especially the ones in Chennai) for the matches to be played in a stadium full of people. 

Of course we are hoping it will happen next year, but that's the thing, you want to absorb your favourite's game as much as you can. 

IPL without crowd is IPL not fun enough. But the guys are trying their best and we hope year 2021 will see packed stadiums again.