IPL - The Business

IPL - The Business

India is clearly a cricket mad country.


India is clearly a cricket mad country.

How is it possible to fill 30 000-seater stadiums every day for two months and get the best cricketers to travel around India for two solid months and pay them such a fortune that they can't refuse the offer? Currently we are coming to the end of the sixth edition of the Indian Premier League and it's safe to say it certainly hasn't lost its appeal in India. South Africans seem to be a little tired of it, until David Miller scores one of the fastest centuries in T20 cricket or Jacques Kallis guides the Kolkata Knight Riders to victory.

The IPL has grown as a business over the years with South Africans continuing to do well. Apart from Miller's superb hundred, AB de Villiers continues to be the most innovative batsman in the tournament and one of the biggest wickets to get. Dale Steyn remains classy - even on flat wickets, small grounds and fast outfields. Who would want to be a bowler in the IPL?

It's no secret that betting on cricket in India is a serious industry in itself. The mind does boggle as to how much money is bet on every single game, every single day. India has a total population of just over 1.2-billion people with field hockey, surprisingly, being their national sport but cricket is clearly the most popular.

Looking at some of the startling figures that the players are getting paid for their two-month stint in India, one can get a sense of the enormity of the business that is the Indian Premier League. Johan Botha, who has only played a handfull of games for the Delhi Daredevils, was sold for $450 000 (approximately R4.2 million) for two months' work and I presume that doesn’t include win bonuses. Chris Morris, who had played just one T20 international, fetched a startling $625 000 (approximately R5.9 million) - his life will never be the same again. The bottom line, I guess, is that it's all about the television rights. With such a large cricket-mad population, it may well be an attractive opportunity for potential businesses to market their product. One can hardly see the colour of some of the kit due to the sponsors logos splashed from head to toe. The 'Strategic Time Out' is exactly that - strategic. The opportunity for businesses to face their two minutes of fame, no doubt paying a premium for their air-time.

For the purists, the Indian Premier League may not be your cup of tea and it may drag on for slightly too long, but one thing is for sure, it's changed the way the business of cricket is done.

- Peter van Onselen

(File Photo:Anesh Debiky:Gallo Images)

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