Thursday, December 22, 2005

Clean bowled

India is on a commanding position against Sri Lanka in the cricket test here at Ahmedabad. Some of my friends went to watch the match yesterday and were thrilled to see India’s performance, while us here at campus, watched bits and pieces of the match from the TV, with sporadic outbursts of human emotions of joie de vivre whenever the ball crossed the boundary, emulating typical Indian populace. No other game is as popular and favorite as cricket in India.

Air Sahara is going to sponsor the Indian cricket team for the next four years further to a winning bid of Rs 314 crores. The deal is confined only to the display of their logo on the players’ chest and their leading arm. More money is going to come to BCCI (Bharat Cricket Control Board) from the display of logos on the non-leading arm, kit etc. of the players from prospective sponsors for which the tender will be opened on 23rd December. The TV rights of the matches are expected to fetch a sum of more than Rs. 400 crores. These figures added with other revenue streams are predicted to give an incredible profit of more than Rs. 700 crores to BCCI in the coming year.

On the other side, India has the highest cricket viewer ship in the world and hence is a paradise for TV advertisements. Ever thought about the number of advertisements being aired on a single channel for a single match and the associated amount flowing behind it? Though the math is simple, the figure is much more than what we can probably imagine of. Then there is an awfully big bookmaking market where bet amounts are in crores. Cricket is not just a game in India; it’s a business too. In such a situation it is worthwhile to ask ourselves a question. Are we giving more importance than is required to a silly game?