The One Sport Economy in Year 2020: The Past, Present and the Future of IPL cricketIPLT20pastpresentfuture30 months ago
30/04/2020 8:30PM : RCB Batsman Virat Kohli takes the stage.
30/04/2020 8:36PM : The ball is up in the air! Will the Mumbai Indians knock off another feather in the cap of RCB??
Five Seconds Later: Oh! He misses it! The ball flows over the line for a classic sixer from the RCB captain!
Six Years Ago, this would have created a huge thundering of applause from the audience at the local Chinnaswamy stadium. But now, barely a trickle of applause flowed in, as the audience size is restricted to one stand, barely 1/10th as that of, in 2014.
There has been much debate recently regarding the economics of IPL 12 2020 and whether its contribution still is significant enough to the Indian Economy. Ever since its inception in 2008, the dollar has gotten bigger, the hype louder and the scandals and the side stories larger with every passing year.
Though gossips and scandals have always been a part and parcel of the IPL franchises, they rose considerably this year as several of the senior players resorted to match fixing, illegal betting and other considerable *Cannot be Disclosed* and *No Comments* scenarios. It is hard to believe that a game which contributed 11.5 billion to Indian GDP just 5 years back, has now perhaps reached its final stage.
Back in 2015, the contribution of IPL to the Indian economy was unquestionable. The sheer income generated, the constant flows of FDI and FII into the country, the employment opportunities that it bought in had a tremendous impact on Cricket. Some of the impact are:
Employment Opportunities: Temporary and permanent employment opportunities were generated and boosted by the IPL tournament. There is a need for extensive support staff for both the teams and the venues conducting the event. When there are rains, you need people to pull in the blanket over the pitch. When there are so many people crowding in, we need security forces to handle any kind of aggression which can rise during the occasion. We need vendors to supply food and water during the breaks. Why! Even the cheerleaders were introduced for the first time in cricket (and largely, to an extent, India) during the tournament. There was an increasing need for TV anchors as well, to host the show and generate excitement before the match begins.
Say what you will about the IPL, even so, you still can't deny the sheer increase in the employment opportunities generated by the game.
Advertisement and Marketing Agencies: Several budding companies piggybacked their way to premium branding by associating themselves with the event, even in any small way possible. Start-ups thus boosted their growth and revenues through the IPL franchises. The need for a number of advertisements to be telecasted before and during the event gave way to different forms of economic growth. The billboards advertising the event, the extensive marketing campaign done by the teams going to an extent as to develop their own theme song, all increased the expenditure and boosted growth.
The ticket sales were outsourced to Reliance, Cafe Coffee Day, bookmyshow.com and so on, thus spreading out the branding power to bring in as many people under the IPL roof as possible. Kingfisher advertised its Positioning strategy as the 'King of Good Times' through a theme song sung by the players! All around craziness and creative juices were flowing during the event.
Boost to Tourism: The huge international fan following of the IPL (since it involves significant number of players from different countries) has been leveraged to boost the tourism in the state and most especially in the city, which acts the host for the IPL. City branding was done through promotions based off on IPL. This attracted a lot of international investors to invest in a particular city/state, which led to an overall boost to the economy of the country. An interesting fact is that the bid for Olympics by different countries happens due to the branding power of the tournament and this model has been extended to the IPL.
Increase in Spending: Of course, as expected there is a general increase in the expenditures of those involved both directly and indirectly in the IPL. But one remarkable fact to note is that, the tournament encouraged conservative middle class to spend heaps in the purchase of tickets to the coveted game. This will have quite a few implications for the economy as more and more of its citizens start to increase their expenditure. The transition from a saving economy to a spending one has been contemplated and hypothesized by many experts due to the power of IPL.
FDI/FII Investments : An approximate 31 billion dollar investment was said to be seen from the FDI/FII sectors. This has led to further strengthening the brand name of IPL and boosting the Indian GDP to an unforeseeable extent. The IPL is said to have contributed to the overall GDP growth by at least 1.6%. Though the number is quite small, it is the single greatest impact that any one sport tournament has ever managed to generate throughout the world.
Loss of Productivity: Increase in the viewership of the tournament also led to a general decrease in productivity levels since people preferred to watch the game rather than work.
Promotion of Sports: The investments made in the tournament have encouraged several sports establishments to be set up throughout the country. The now popular, MSD Training Centre's origins can be traced back to 2016, when IPL was at its robust stage.
The one major disadvantage of the tournament is that it is increasing focus on cricket and lessening the impact made by other sports. The prospect of a future in any sport, other than cricket is weak at best in the country and IPL is only serving to strengthen that claim. Of course, in the past few years IPL has not been doing as well as it was before but still, the general focus of the country remains on cricket.
The present, as you well know has not been treating the tournament well and there is a significant drop in the viewership levels of the game, as each year passes by. This decrease in viewership, in turn has spanned off into decrease in sponsorship, investment and all the other factors which boosted the economy to a considerable extent over the past 12 years.
The future, you ask? Well, my friends, the future for IPL has gone but in the blink of an eye.
See you in Game.
The Hitwicket Team