A country crippled by altercations and aberrations in all fronts, plagued by corruption, marred by caste discrimination, yet amalgamated to a force, a force that overcomes the hurdles of caste and class, a force that has brought joy to a billion faces, a force that has fetched numerous plaudits and laurels to the nation, a force that has led to extreme euphoria, a force that transforms to a pigeonhole. A religion in terms of the magnitude. Cricket, the religion. Sachin, the God.
There haven’t been days when this thought hasn’t does its rounds in my head, irked by a riveting sports marketing book. If Tendulkar wasn’t existent in this political sphere, what would be the plight of the game or the country. Well, hockey would have done justice to the fact that it has been hailed the national game for quite sometime now, maybe India could have multiplied its medal tally in the Olympics, other sports could have raked in the moolah, a generation of batsman could have fancied their chances of bursting into the national side, the bowlers could have escaped some ignominy. Barring this, what are the arenas that would have suffered a major setback if the master hadn’t forayed into the game?
Hence, the top 5 arenas bolstered by Sachin Tendulkar.
5) The Team India- Needless to say, the most obvious bullet, the master has been a fulcrum in most of the monumental wins of the team. Indian cricket in the 1990s, or even the early 2000s would have hit the leanest patches if the master was non-existent. The icing on the cake being the World Cup win where the master top scored for the side and the 2nd top scorer in the tournament. A plethora of runs in the test format and a run machine abroad, the numero uno status would have been elusive in the master’s absence. Any side in any game would yearn for the World’s best player. Hence elucidating upon his contribution to the team is like opening a pandora’s box and is well acquainted by all most every soul.
4) The State Associations- The major chunk of revenue for the State Associations comes from the gate money or the money through tickets for fixtures hosted by the respective states. Another share of the revenue is through the boundary sponsors(electronic boards in the fence) . Hence, a sell out is where the ticket money reaches its peak. For the crowd puller he is known to be, he garners the maximum crowd than any other player in any other team. An interesting anecdote. In the 2004 Ind-Aus test series at home, the only series India has lost at home in the decade, Sachin Tendulkar missed the first two tests on account of an injury. Australia routed India in the first test at B’lore and the second test at Chennai was washed out in which the pendulum was towards India’s favor. Leading the series 1-0, the third test at Nagpur saw a marginal ticket sale as uncertainty was looming over Sachin’s availability. Venues such as Nagpur, Mumbai, Rajkot, Kolkata or Chennai are mostly jam packed even for the test matches and without the master in the XI, the ticket sale hit an all time low. As soon as Sachin was declared fit on the morning of the first day, the ticket sale saw an increase manifold and the number had almost tripled. One of the ample examples available and this is a testimony to the crowdpuller he is. In turn, the State Associations have en-cashed on this and has brought upon a living for thousands.
3) The Media- The visual media, the broadcasting channels bank upon the TRP ratings. Higher the TRP, higher they would claim their stakes with the ad agencies. The eyeballs that are glued on the idiot box while Sachin is on the crease is just out of bounds compared to the games the master chooses to ‘rest’. A case in point is the 2010 Ind-Aus ODI series at home. After the first four games the series was evenly poised at 2-2 without the master’s magic. Unsurprisingly, the TRP of the first four games were stagnating at 3.6, 4.9, etc. The fifth innings had a sensational knock by the master. He hammered an 175 off 141 balls, under the lights, chasing 370 and odd. To ones dismay, the game was lost by a meagre 15 odd runs. The TRP of this game skyrocketed to 7.8. A TRP of 1 spells a million eyeballs and an increase in the TRP by 4 means the whole population of Singapore. Hence such bucking up of the TRPs meant hot cash for the broadcasting channels, almost double of what it would have made in the absence of master each game.
2) The Sponsors- Post-liberalization India saw a splurge in the foreign brands that made its footsteps into the Indian market. The producers of these firmly laid their belief on sports-persons to endorse their products and where ready to shell out crores for the sake of roping in the top savvy sporting heroes. Top sporting heroes of the nation has none other than Sachin at the helm. When mothers were quizzed on which sports-person do they want their sons to emulate, a phenomenal 99% answered Sachin Tendulkar. This was a shot in the arm for the producers which paved way for products like Colgate, Boost and Worldtel to rope in the master with taglines attractive taglines that suited him like ‘total’, ‘top’, etc. If Worldtel was ready to pay Rs. 100 crore to the master, imagine the returns they would be contemplating upon. Hence Sachin was a darling for the sponsors and was the ‘Angel’ ambassador.
1) The Fans- All the above factors boils down to this crucial point. Given the Indian population, every third person is not a Tendulkar fan, but a Tendulkar fanatic. The smiles he’s brought upon, the momentary pleasures his shots have given, a cloud of joy his innings have given, the crackers that go off after every ton of his, the festive mood a fan gets into when the master has churned yet another masterpiece are all trivial but crucial aspects. When the nation was down after the 26/11 attacks, the master played a sensationally gritty knock in Chennai, wining the test against England, it brought upon a wave of joy that swept the nation.The disaster that surfaced took the back seat and India’s thumping of England took the driver’s seat. The degrees of highness one gets in the stands of a jam-packed atmosphere, the electrifying surroundings created, the emotions irked are all aspects that go unnoticed. The emotions or splashes of joy are uncountable and immeasurable. Hence, financially not every fan was strengthened, but something higher than the wallet is the heart that is warmed by him more often than not. Hence the lot that has benefited the most are his fans.
By no stretch of imaginations can one think of another Sachin being born and pivot the Indian sports arena. In the 23 years he’s dazzled, there are millions or billions who have cashed in on his fame or popularity. Behind all that fame and flamboyance is the amount of hardwork that goes into every game, broken fingers,a wretched back, a wearing out knee and an ever pounding heart that loves the game. The love story that has won the bread for many, the love story that gave a new lease of life for the State Associations, the love story that kept the cash registers ringing, the love story that has brought smiles to a billion faces, a love story that has crossed all boundary and taken the sport to a different level and in-turn creating a living for the billions who wish to embrace it.
Cricket is our religion and Sachin is our God.