Arpan Jennifer Vimal analyses how India entices as a sport’s destination for cricket
Cricket in India, comes with much excitement, fanfare and an adoring public. The T20 World Cup matches are being hosted all over India and teams from around the world will descend to India to battle it out for the winning title. It is the most popular spectacle in India, and follows movies as the second-biggest form of entertainment. Most touring teams should first get used to the massive crowds before they can get used to the playing conditions. The kind of response you get from all parts in India when it comes to cricket, it’s simply fabulous. With the ICC World Twenty20 2016 in India across eight venues, the expectations are no different.
The ICC World Twenty20 India 2016 is the sixth edition of the event that was first staged in South Africa in 2007.The tournament is a biennial event, though it was held two years in a row in 2009 and 2010 in England and the Caribbean respectively. The tournament brings the most explosive batting talent in the world together on one platform, while the expanded field of 16 teams allows the Associate and Affiliate Members to pit their wares against the Test-playing nations on a more regular basis. For the first time at a major ICC event, host broadcaster Sunset+Vine under the banner of ICC TV will produce live broadcast coverage of 48 matches, including all 35 men’s and 13 women’s matches, which, in turn, will be aired around the world by ICC’s Global Broadcast Partner Star Sports and its licensees into more than 200 territories.
Cricket, the gentleman’s game, is the unofficial national game of India and seems to be embedded in the life of the country. In fact no other sport in India can claim the position of cricket in respect to its popularity and revenue generation. The cricket mania in India has a stronghold upon its populace, which is hard to ignore and would leave an onlooker amazed and wonderstruck. In the context of today, it can be said that Cricket has become synonymous with the identity of being an Indian sports enthusiast. Such is the charisma of the game in the nation.
India is today the commercial centre of gravity of the game and accounts for close to 80% of the game’s revenue. The 2000s saw Indian cricket and its commercial value grow exponentially. It was also the decade BCCI sought to assert itself at the global stage. Picture this—in 1986, just ahead of the 1987 World Cup, Reliance Industries Ltd paid $1 million for the title sponsorship of the tournament. Today, ICC gets between six and eight partners, each worth $8 million, accounting for over $60 million in revenue—for one tournament. India (and by extension, the subcontinent) is also the biggest television market for cricket. Almost 75% of the game’s viewership comes from the region. Approximately every 90% of cricket advertising globally is from marketers looking to tap India in some way. It wouldn’t be wrong to call BCCI as the big brothers of international cricket.
India is cricket’s biggest provider. Some cricketing nations are virtually dependent on India for their revenues. A tour by the Indian cricket team is the most sought after among every cricketing nation, thanks to the television money it generates for the host board. The TV rights money generated by an India tour, virtually sustains that board, its affiliate bodies (states, counties or clubs). Besides, they also earn good profit through gate receipts, thanks to increased attendances from the Indian diaspora. If ICC has become a commercial juggernaut over the past two decades, it has BCCI to thank for it.
A seasoned sports management professional with leadership experience of more than 15 years panning sports, entertainment, media and consulting. Vikram Tanwar is the MD and CEOof ITW, one of India’s largest and fastest growing Sports Advisory and Management Company
Spearheading and managing projects across Asia, North America, Australia and Africa, Vikram has worked closely with sports federations, broadcasters, cricket boards, sports leagues and teams to deliver and create winning partnerships for a large number of clients thus creating exceptional brand experiences across sports like cricket, golf, motor sports, football, hockey, polo etc.
The cricket world is gearing up for an exciting period of action filled with plenty of International cricket across the world and a real focus on T20 cricket matches. What is the secret of T20’s appeal?
T20’s appeal lies in its format. Being a shorter format of the game as compared to an ODI and Test, there is a lot more action packed in the 20 overs played by each side. This makes watching it a lot more exciting for the audience.
The previous five tournaments have been very popular with massive success. What are the expectations from World T20 2016?
Yes there is a lot riding on the T20 world cup 2016, especially because it is happening in India which has got largest following of cricket in the world. Everyone does expect it to be a massive success and I am sure it will be.
The 2016 ICC World T20 will be the sixth ICC World T20 tournament, and the first to be hosted by India. How desirable India is as a sport’s destination?
India has always been a sports loving country with cricket being the no 1 sport but in the last few years post the IPL there has been an advent of numerous sports league’s such as the ISL (Football) Pro kabaddi League, Hockey India League etc. Currently there are fair number of league’s & tournaments being planned across various sports. Due to a large population & hence a large TV audience there is a lot of scope of commercialization of sport in India and yes therefore today India is a great destination for sport.
Has T20 changed the demographic of cricket’s audience?
Yes it certainly has. A lot more families watch T20 cricket together as it is a great mix of sport and entertainment.
What is your view on the commercial opportunities for those involved in the business of cricket?
In the past 2 decades cricket has really given rise to a lot more commercial opportunities for those involved in the business of cricket. Sponsorship revenue, TV and digital ad revenues, ticketing are all seeing a positive trend. We ourselves at ITW have introduced a lot of new brands to the world of cricket through sponsorships and partnerships. There are a lot more nations playing who have started playing international cricket thus creating more avenues & opportunities for companies involved in the business of cricket.
16 cricket teams from all over the world will fight to take the world cup for the shortest format of the game. Will T20 endure? Will the market be swamped?
No doubts that T20 will endure. This season is going to have a lot of T20 action. The recently held Asia cup was a big success and was played in the T20 format for the first time. The T20 world cup is on currently and right after IPL begins. Each tournament has its own flavor and will serve as a great opportunity for brands to reach their target audience.
Are the fans’ expectations on high, as the T20 World Cup 2016 is going to happen in India, which is very popular country because of the huge Cricket Fan base?
India is the Mecca of cricket and needless to say the fans will have huge expectations from the Indian team and will really want them to win the T20 world cup at home.
What do you think are the expectations of sponsors and commercial partners of World T20 2016?
For sponsors and commercial partners the main expectation would be for the tournament to have great visibility and reach in terms of numbers both in India and Globally. They will look forward to have high TV ratings and packed stadiums. I am sure the tournament will deliver that.
Your take on the most high profile clash of the tournament, India and Pakistan on March 19. (Needless to say, the two teams carry a weight of history each time they take on each other.)
India versus Pakistan will certainly be one of the most high profile matches in the tournament and I hope it’s an exciting one. Both the teams have not had a bilateral series in the recent past due to which the passionate fans of both the countries hardly get to see them play each other. Coupled with the whole hype around the change in venue of the match it will be one of the most awaited in the tournament.
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