Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

Marketing goes a long way……

November 27, 2009

It’s all happening in the cricketing world. The latest introduction of IPL and its extension Champions league have been tremendously successful. So, what triggered such overwhelming towards IPL? My guess is, it’s ‘plain old marketing‘. Let me explain what it means:

  •  Firstly, IPL is not the greatest idea ever conceptualized. What is new about IPL?

Q: Is it the first ever Domestic/International cricket league? Answer: A big NO.

 The English Cricket league (or the domestic cricket championship played in Britain) is the prototype for all other cricket leagues. When I say a ‘league’, I mean a tournament in which the teams that play are different clubs and the players are of different nationalities. When we compare the leagues across all the sports, i think (not sure) EPL is the oldest.

 Even the rebel league World Series Cricket introduced commercially by Kerry Packer in the late 70’s was a huge success. Agreed that it was a rebel league aimed at money making. But in terms of attracting talent, it succeeded.

 In India also, there has always been the club cricket played be it in a small scale apart from the BCCI run domestic tournaments like ranaji trophy and duleep trophy among others.

 In short, the point that I intend to make is that league/club cricket existed from times immemorial.

  •  Secondly, even though the promoters say IPL is not restricted to T20 format, it still remains a fact that T20 cricket is the greatest boost for IPL.

Q: Is T20 cricket the brainchild of IPL or BCCI? Answer: Again a big NO.

 As it has happened many times in history, not always the inventor gets the credit. The most famous being the case with the invention of the electric bulb among others. Edison is always given the credit for inventing the electric bulb, but it is a well documented fact that he is not the inventor but he is the person who converted the invention into a commercially viable product.

 Similar is the case with T20 cricket. It is the English cricket (ECB to be specific) who were responsible for the invention (I guess ‘introduction’ instead of ‘invention’ might be a better word to use) of T20 cricket. The ECB, desperate to improve the popularity of cricket in England, came up with the very innovative idea of 20-20 cricket and coined the term T20 for it. And it was a brilliant idea that became an instant success domestically. But the ECB made a big mistake by not capturing the T20 success and promote it in a big way (big way- I mean internationally). As admitted by many top officials of ECB, it invested too much doing research in ‘how best’ to take it forward instead of acting immediately and making it big event before someone else captured the moment. 

 As many of us remember, initially BCCI opposed to the idea of 20-20 cricket. They acted as the ‘holy cow’ of cricket saying that it would damage the ‘soul’ of cricket by destroying test cricket. (Ironically it is India that was playing less number of test matches and more number of 50-50 cricket because it is considered more commercial).

 In short, the point that I intend to make is that 20-20 cricket was never really the idea of BCCI.

 So What triggered the success of IPL?

 As I told in the beginning, it is purely ‘good marketing’ rather than a ‘big idea’. The main man behind the success of IPL, its commissioner, Lalit Modi had revealed many facts that he thinks triggered the success in an interview to Vir Sanghvi.

 One of the important points that he says is that of the studies he did about the European football leagues’ business model and the flaws in it. He points out: 70 per cent of a team’s expenses went not on buying players but on maintaining stadiums. In the UK, Manchester United and other teams own their stadiums. As they play at home a maximum of 30 days a year, the stadium is unused for the other 335. It is this unproductive asset that burns the biggest hole in balance sheets.

 Studying this pattern, Lalit came to the conclusion that a league would only work if the BCCI allowed team owners to play in its stadiums for free. That way, the teams would not be landed with unproductive assets.

 He also points out: that the best way to ensure a relatively level playing field was to control the way in which players were auctioned among teams and to deny team owners the ability to buy players in the open market.

 So, after making some smart moves and good marketing, Modi made sure that IPL was a success. Even his decision to move the IPL2 to South Africa came in as a blessing in disguise as it ensured that a) It was not a one-time-wonder. b) Established his control over decision making and showed that he can go to any extent and will not bend to others.

Finally, to conclude, it seems that Modi and his marketing are making all the right moves as of now. Kudos to him!!!!!!!