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March 08, 2011

Cricket and advertising

Money has started to rule the game of cricket from the 1990 onwards. The love of the lucre was so much that the passing way of Mark Mascarehans (the CEO of World Tel) was mourned by the Indian cricket team by wearing of black badges but not the passing away of the then speaker G.M.C.Balayogi. 

Dollars have taken over cricket. The domination of the Indian sub continent especially India is because 90% of the funds that come to world cricket are because of the sponsorships that cricket is able to generate from the Indian corporate companies. The rule of money has become so powerful that it led to an unofficial test match being played between India and South Africa flouting blatantly the authority of ICC (International cricket council).

The recent incident of the racial slur that Harbhajan was alleged to have directed at Andrew Symonds also had to be solved to the satisfaction of BCCI (Board of Control of Cricket in India). If India does not tour any country that country’s cricket board will become bankrupt. The Pakistani cricket board also realizes this fact. When Pakistani matches were rescheduled from that country to venues in India for the present cricket world cup there was hardly any murmur of protest from the Pakistani cricket board.  

Cricket means mega bucks for the corporates and the advertising agencies. Cricket is the most watched game in India and crores of people watch the game. But the problem is sponsoring or taking the advertisement spots has become very costly. Even if one advertises there is no guarantee that one’s advertisements would stand out in the clutter. So how do we make sure that our products stand out in the clutter and remain etched in the black box of the customer that is politely called the ‘mind’?  

But luckily for the sponsors cricket is a very advertising friendly game. There is time between the balls and between the overs. There is at least a break between the innings. Added bonus is there is time when one batsman gets out. The game is leisurely and does not have the frantic pace of football. This can lead to discussions when the commentators can subtly pitch for the products they  endorse.

There are many innovations that have been introduced in cricket. The corporates have innovated the concept of a third innings. Third innings is the discussion that is conducted between the innings break.  Packages from the game are nicely presented to the audience. The terminology also has changed. Sixer has become maximum and that became DLF maximum. For the innovative person there are lots of ways and means of making his products and services get registered in the minds of the customer.

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