Monday, April 12, 2010

The big fat Indian Premier League

Cricket haters, don't stop reading. Cricket lovers, don't start praising. During the course of my study towards a successful entry and stay in the world of mass communication, I have been reading up a lot on Indian politics and sundry other topics that make news every day. As a result, at times I have to read up on something as loathsome as cricket. I mean, I really hate cricket. I really really do. This is not emotional. It has nothing to do with disappointment or heartbreak. Well maybe a little.

When I was around 10 years old, our family friends used to get together to watch India Pakistan matches in Dubai. Once I was very involved in a match and all our hopes were pinned on Sachin. And we lost! Since then I abhor cricket. Anyway, so considering that the entire 3-page sports section of a few newspapers is dedicated to IPL, I thought I should take a dekko at what it's all about. Apparently, the business model of IPL has deserved a lot of attention as Page 3 is filled with after-match party photos.

Let's start with the cricketer's uniforms. Have you seen the number of logos on them? The cricketers  look like walking-talking billboards. Frankly speaking, I find it a bit offending. I mean one brand is fine, but the cricketers look silly with some or the other logo stitched on to any bare patch on the uniform. Talk about not letting an inch go waste! As I remember, Lalit Modi wanted to auction off the space on a cap for ads! Somebody stopped him from doing so, thank God! 

The next ridiculous money-earning trick is to show an ad between overs in the stadium as well as on tv. I mean my brain just doesn't switch that fast! One second you'll be waiting for a guy to start bowling and in the next split second you'll be seeing some stupid ad. Overload of multi-tasking I must say! Even when a player gets out, ads are pushed in till the next player emerges from the pavilion. Not letting a second go waste, our talented Mr. Modi. 

I was not surprised to find out that MRF was charged a handsome amount just to let a blimp with its logo to be allowed to float above the stadium. What I find hard to believe is, other companies didn't jump into the fray for the balloon-race. The after-match parties are another addition to "glamorous" cricket with cricketers and stars forced to make an entrance, even if they come back from the matches at 12:00 am. People pay to come and see you, the organizers tell the cricketers, its your duty to at least show them your faces. Its no wonder cricketers keep snoozing or passing out in the middle of the parties. 

The luxury packages offered by IPL had me gawking with my mouth wide open. Since we aren't privy to the deals that are made, we can only guess what packages are being offered. Pay 25 lakhs, get the best seats for the entire IPL, a luxury hotel stay, limo pick up, free access to IPL post-match parties and some such. I mean, where is cricket in all this! Sounds like a made-to-order vacation! The IPL industry has been valued at 4 billion dollars right now. With 2 new teams coming in, it is about to get bigger. Looking at merchandising and hospitality as 2 main sources of increasing income, I think IPL 4 is going to go crazy lucratively on both fronts. I'm sure they'll find a way of merchandising a needle too.

All this sounds crazy, but I guess due credit must be given to Lalit Modi. I mean, that guy really knows how to make use of time and space to make money! Let's see how he sells ice to an eskimo in IPL 4.

p.s. I wonder how come nobody thought of using the cheerleaders' uniforms for brand advertisement. I mean, the clothes just got bigger, you got so much space! No worries Mr Modi, IPL 4 is coming...

Update: I got a closer look at IPL cheerleaders today, courtesy Times of India (couldn't find the damn photo on the net!) and I stand corrected. IPL cheerleaders' uniforms are ALREADY sporting brand logos. So, I pretty much can't race against Modi's "lucrative" mindset. The recent Tharoor Modi controversy is interesting. I don't know how Tharoor manages to get stuck in these situations all the time. I think he suffers from foot-in-the-mouth disease. Just like me!


  1. BRUTAL ! but true... its all become a business mor than a genuine tournament... da teams losin pathetically too makin fat profits...

  2. I didn't mean any offense to cricket or IPL fans. Just an observation about the tremendous amount of money involved in this 3-ring circus. Oops I did it again :D

  3. u might find this interesting on the logos front ;)

  4. Really true. Ultimately we are paying all this money for ads.
    Moreover what is the source of capital investment in franchise? May be its just a money laundering scheme.

  5. nice new labels gadget...

    * likes *

  6. @Anon: Yeah I've seen this. Its hilarious :D

    @Prabhu: Looks like I've really got my hand on the nerve of current events :D A week after i wrote this post, the whole IPL thing just blew apart.

    @Anon: Thanksie :D