The Business of Cricket

Earlier this week, Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz was quoted as saying this in an interview:

… interesting discussions … with a new customer from a company that owns the franchise to Indian cricket. They were telling me about the statistics involved: the number of people, the amount of wealth involved in watching cricket, not only by Indians in India, but by Indian across the world. I was dumbfounded because one of our largest customers in the US is called mlb.com (Major League Baseball.com) and the Indian company had a business plan with vast multiples of the mlb.com business plan since the market opportunity is just too expansive.

Damn right. Indian Cricket is a lot bigger than Major League Baseball. But in terms of amount of money it circulates within the country, look at this comparison.

MLB:

  • Over 30 high quality stadiums. Each get to host around 80 games each year
  • Supports 30 x 30, around 900 professional players. Each of whom make more money than average Indian cricketer on contract with BCCI
  • Players don’t mind 162 game days each year.
  • April to October, each evening you have a live game to watch on TV.
  • Just a domestic league, no international tensions involved.
  • No selection controversies.
  • More than 20 superstars at any given point of time.

BCCI (still no official website!) :

  • 5 or 6 good quality stadiums to boast of. And each host not more than 5 well-attended games per year.
  • 30 contracted players make good money, still not what they deserve, given that at least 500 million people watch them play every game.
  • Instead of giving us, the customers, more of what they want, BCCI players play only 90 days an year (40 ODI, 10 tests).
  • Non-contracted or domestic players (around 500 of them) still have to keep their day jobs. And contracted players, instead of rotating in bigger numbers, complain of overwork and tiredness!
  • Each day there is a needless debate around selection.
  • At any point of time, there are 2, may be 3 superstars. Bedi/Chandra. Kapil/Gavaskar. Sachin/Azhar. Sachin/Sehwag. Dhoni.
  • And we have useless international distractions time and again. Whites and browns, India and Pakistan, Blasts in Lanka.

Enough is enough! I want to watch good cricket each evening after I come back from office. I want to watch the best in action regardless of nationality or residency, and in my country where the paying public lives. I want 1000 players to make a king like living out of the game, not just 1-2 cricketers and a few administrators. I don’t want this international stuff every now and then, a few (friendly) matches once in a while and a World Cup every 4 year shall be enough.

Bottom-line. I just want this passion to translate into a lot more money spreading around in my country. If not MLB, then look at European Soccer for example.

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One Response

  1. […] Posted on November 5, 2007 by silkboard I may not have written lately on the topic – the untapped market for organized domestic cricket, and a dream – but I have been watching them both, ICL and IPL. […]

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