The case of IPL


The IPL cricket tournament has been interestin for a couple of reasons: It showed how innovation in services can be appealin to consumers and it showed how competition and globalisation can bring improvements… There are also lessons the IPL can learn from successful sports franchises elsewhere… for instance… the EPL…

The innovation is the most strikin aspect… By re-packagin the sedate game of cricket to somethin with non-stop action… and by reducin the time investment that spectators need to put in for the event… the IPL administrators have modernised it in quite a big way… It has also converted attendin the 20-20 game into a family event like going to the movies, or a picnic,  whether you watch the action and the girls at home or in the stadium…

This has especially  appealed to women particularly housewives… for the three hours required is somethin a busy housewife can afford to spare… as compared to having to spend all day watchin the game… Besides, fast-movin games have instinctive appeal… which is why soccer finds such a ready audience everywhere…

All of this has been described in the insightful book Blue Ocean Strategy (IITB liby ! ) as an example of creating a new and uncontested playin field, creatin an arena where the competition simply cannot compete… therez nothin to compete against… Unique and Sellin… worst than monopoly as far as profit makin is concerned… Consider this : SRK made 15 crores in the first edition itself… it will take a person of his stature 5 great movies annualy to match this revenue… the figure might become 25 in the second edition… Will he be actin anymore… or he’d rather just tell everyone in the country except Ganguly about the best Talc, best clothings, best soaps, best toothpastes, best Utensil Detergent, maybe even best Phenyls… and preach Ganguly about the importance of his Muslim Bro Shoaib Akhtar…

nyway, the IPL has to some extent re-branded cricket and reached a new customer base… which may be indifferent to the game… but has discovered the pleasures of the stadium or social experience with family and friends… also, there have been complaints that Indian professional cricket being a cozy little world… zealously guarded by a few… with hardly any opportunities for others to break in… Indeed, it appears as though the hitherto excluded have managed to excel in the IPL version of the game… as it was not necessarily the established stars who delivered the big performances…

A cursory glance shows that many standouts were unheard-of Indian or foreign players… This is good for the game… but we must spare a tear for the owners who shelled out mega-bucks for under-achieving big-name stars… It is especially good for the unheralded players who enjoyed limelight of international audience… This should provide a steady stream of hungry, newly-discovered players who can revitalise national teams…

All of this is poetic justice… and an indication yet again that money talks… The money in cricket is all in India… which is unfortunate because all the money is for cricket and nothin else…

But there are a number of other improvements that can be thought of… One is the salary cap… Each team is allowed a certain aggregate amount that it can use to pay its players… but that upper limit may not be exceeded… This will prevent rich franchise owners from cornering the market… Secondly, there is a draft, whereby all the new players coming into the game come from a central pool…

All said and done… I am surely awaitin the next edition of IPL..

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