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Cricket: more a business; less a game!


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In India, Cricket is a tradition and legacy and in Indian cricket business, it’s a big brand and reign. Cricket originated in India in 1971 when its first match was played between British sailors and East India Company in Baroda. But cricket as business originated in late 1970s with the beginning of World Series Cricket by Kerry Packer which re-generated this game with fancy attire and huge pay packages for cricketers. But this series lasted for few years only due to authority of International Cricket Council (ICC).

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Sooner, with Indian Cricket League (ICL), three decades afterwards, brought T20 cricket design which had the same magic mantra of Kerry Packer. However, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) came up with succession of Indian Premier League (IPL) later which also got the authorization from ICC and resulted in magnetism of world-wide cricketers and endorses. The business revolution of cricket actually began from this point only, as it brought huge amount of currency to India. Yet so, for cricketers, this game always gave the fame but never the ‘cash-thing’. But while tracing the times past of cricket icons, many cricket ambassadors have emerged and have gained million of dollars into their pocket. Counting chronologically from Sunil Gavaskar (1970s), who became the very first Indian marketed cricketer through Palmolive; Kapil Dev (1980s) marketed for Hero Honda; Sachin Tendulkar (1990s) for Boost, pepsi, coca-cola, Castrol oil, sun-feast etc and 21st century brand MS Dhoni who has uncovered a lot of endorsements including business brands, products branding, advertising etc in business field. MS Dhoni could be seen in every advertisement of basic need products from head to toe including hair oil to shoe polish. Currently Dhoni is having 20 endorsements.  And the upcoming is Virat Kohli, who has recently in past few year have become the most appealing brand ambassador. And with just these half business practices these all cricket icons have turned their pocket money into million-billion dollars. All these cricketers have been striving to enlarge their market for international branding through televisions in liberalizing India. Using cricket and their icons for multi-branding has also changed the perception of customers to various goods. But not just the cricketers, there are lot more businesses endorsing cricket game for their branding for example DLF, Sahara, Pepsi, Adidas, Reebok etc. Cricket can be by far categorized as FMCG i.e. Fat Moving Consumer Goods because it has changed the perception and buying practice of more than 3 million customers all over the world.

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    In today’s era, the word ‘cricket’ is lesser a game and more a chariot for marketing        and exploring marketing for itself, exploring sports marketing, and discovering the commerce of cricket through new tactics. Cricket lovers are well aware of today’s    business tactic in cricket. So what it is called as Indian Premier League (IPL). IPL can be defined as “Indian money Producing Loop” through their international heavenly paid labourers. However, IPL is a luminous notion which follows a ‘win-win’ strategy for cricketers, media, sponsor etc. The concept behind the IPL was to sell Cricket as a highly associated reality show which would appeal all its consumers. Franchisee of IPL is not a small picture, it’s a lot giant picture with a big pond involving big crocodiles (international companies) endorsing fishes (players) so that many small baby fishes (money) could be re-produced.

As said by Dean Jones (Australian cricket player) that, ‘Cricket has made the world wealthier because of India’. Globally, the commerce of cricket is estimated to be US 4 billion dollars, which is growing at the rate of 15% every year. According to Forbes magazine, which evaluated several Cricket board of different countries and it was found that, worth of BCCI was US 1.5 Billion dollars, which was much more than the English and Wales Cricket woth US 270 million dollars and Australian Cricket worth US 225 million. India contributes to 70% of revenue to this game last year generating huge currency to all over the world and creating more business opportunities through Cricket in India. It is estimated that with IPL and T20, money out of customers’ and advertisers’ wallet will more be caught in future. This money is sent to the pocket of endorsement companies and cricket players such that if a comparison is made between the earnings of Sachin Tendulkar and maximum paid Indian CEO Anil Ambani, Tendulkar earn 30 US dollar per minute while Ambani erans US dollar 10 per minute.  And if compared to an ordinary man it is less than 1 cent. This data from PaycheckIndia best fore-tells the earning story through Cricket making cricketers and its business richer and richer. However, a lot of business strategies apply for such huge earning. A proper Cricket Business Model is made every year for improvement of Cricket business in India and world.

But as said, every coin has a flip side so as this game ‘Cricket’ have. The darker side of this game is that every year, US 25 million (figures from the Hindustan times) are spent in illegal betting on this game. This illegal betting affects this game a lot making creating fake financial figures. It also affect socially to public and cricket lovers’. Cases of many famous players like Ajay Jadeja, Moh Azharuddin etc were also caught into illegal practices of match fixing and betrayed the nation for the sake of million-billion of money illegally. Few years back Moh Asif and Salman Butt were also caught red handed. However, such players also paid for their betrayal losing their fans and their image; and were completely banned from the Cricket.

Many in this Cricket industry believe this sport as competition; customers take it as a source of entertainment; players take it as career and endorsements. However, Cricket carries many facets of commerce, from players, consumers, viewers, to business sponsors, advertisers, boards etc. Wishing Cricket never loses its appeal and remains in heart of cricket lovers forever and thus also produce a lot more currency for the world.

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