Archive for Sports

IPL , an another potential business?

In a cricket mad nation, there is yet another new format of league being introduced, which is going to make people crazy.  It’s the Indian Premier league (IPL) , a 20-20 format ( 20 overs per side) cricket tournament in which the teams would be owned by franchise  – individuals/joint ventures. Though this is called a brainchild of the BCCI, (Lalit Modi, IS Bindra & Co), but to me it’s an adopted child, because the idea has been inspired by European football and the NBA. The IPL concept is actually a mix of the marketing strategies of these both. The teams would be owned by eminent businessmen or organizations and they can choose their team players. The players would be auctioned with a base price and the team owners would bid for the players, in which the highest bidder can hire the players on contract.

In IPL, there should be atleast 6 players from the local region, for instance the team from Mumbai must have atleast six players from Maharastra, which provides a platform for the talented players to showcase and hone their skills. It’s also going to be a good source of income for players. In Indian cricket, only the top 20-25 players are really earning the big bucks; all others are just waiting for their chances for years together until they finally announcing their retirement at the age of 35. After retirement, either they do not have a job or they don’t know any job other than cricket, which is pushing them into poverty. There are also many instances in which Ranji players have committed suicide because of poverty. Recently an Uttar Pradesh Ranji player, who had represented India U-19, committed suicide. So, IPL is certainly a boon to such people.

In India vast majority for the source of employment , comes by education only . Every parent wants their kid to become a doctor, engineer, lawyer or take any professional career oriented courses, so that their kids can earn a lot and lead a wealthy life , though it might not necessarily be a happy one. They are not bothered about the wishes of their kids and dump their desires and wishes onto their kids. This cannot totally be blamed on the parents too, as there is little scope for better employment in India than the aforementioned careers. IPL has a potential to change this to some extent atleast. As there is lots of money being poured into this, people would be tempted to watch their kids playing in such tournaments and ofcourse, raking in the moolah. It’s not only the players who are going to be benefited, there would be coaches, umpires, match officials, scorers, commentators, physios,  grounds men etc..etc. who would also be benefited. So it will be interesting to see if this is going to be yet another promising industry in the booming Indian economy, in which people of all classes, (i.e.)from a higher official to a low level grounds men will be benefited. What are the other possibilites – will these franchises list their teams in share market? Will “CHENNAI SUPERKINGS” be the next big IPO?

If we look at the revenues being generated in American/European sports (the parent of the IPL format), we would be amazed. NFL ( National Football League), the American football , has generated $5.2 billion in 2007, baseball league and NBA also has comparable figures. This revenue is more than that of the top IT companies in India. In European Union too, EPL (English Premier League), Spanish league, Italian League has been earning great revenues and that’s the reason it has become an attractive destination for foreign players. Business tycoons like the Mittals and Ambanis are ready to throw in their money. India, being a cricket crazy country with over a billion in population can one day beat these revenues. Moreover, it attracts lot of foreigners which is another source for development of tourism.

There has been a lot of hue and cry that IPL is going to kill other sports, which may be true to some extent. But in India, none of the other sports has reached even 25% of what cricket has reached today. How many of us know that there is already a league for Hockey in India(Premier Hockey League) being run by Indian Hockey Federation, in which many foreign players have also been playing? This league has been being played since 2005 and it has completed it’s third season, but how popular is Hockey? We did not even qualify for Olympics this year. India has been eight times olympic champion and Hockey is our national game, being played from 1928 Olympics, but what is the status of Hockey now in India? Sharukh Khan alone got benefited by Hockey (and of course now by IPL too since he bought the Kolkata team). The Badminton olympic coaching camp was cancelled recently. Are you curious to know the reason? – the reason was there were no balls (shuttle cocks) available. The smart explanation given by the Badminton association was “Due to bird flu in West Bengal, cocks are not available” . Until KPS Gills and Kalmadi’s are going to remain in the administration, other sports are going to be as-is. It wont be killed by IPL alone.

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