Gideon Haigh
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Cricket historian and writer in Melbourne

Put the game before the brand

Thinking of cricket purely as a brand will only impede the clean-up the BCCI needs to undertake in the wake of the IPL mess

Gideon Haigh

May 6, 2010

Comments: 43 | Text size: A | A

Chirayu Amin, the interim IPL chairman, Mumbai, April 26, 2010
Amin and Co. are concerned about the IPL brand; let's hope they're looking out for cricket's interests as well © AFP
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Related Links
Features : A timeline of the IPL mess
Jayaditya Gupta : BCCI bitten by its own buzzword
Sambit Bal : The crisis the IPL needed
Players/Officials: Lalit Modi
Series/Tournaments: Indian Premier League
Teams: India

When Lalit Modi came to the podium after the final of the third Indian Premier League, with minutes ticking away on his reign, he had what few administrators at presentation ceremonies can claim to have enjoyed: a captive audience. What would it be? You won't have Modi to kick around any more, a la Richard Nixon? Old BCCI vice-presidents never die, they just fade away, a la Douglas MacArthur?

Not quite, although Modi, for him, flirted with rhetoric: "Indian People's League… I have lived a dream… Humble servant of the game." Then there was the quote from the Bhagavad Gita, which some oblivious viewers may have mistaken for another sponsor (coming soon: the Mahabharata Moment of Success). Finally there came a defiant roar: "We should not allow this brand to be diluted and we will not."

What Modi meant, of course, was that nothing should be permitted to harm the IPL's reputation, although that he dropped so easily into the jargon of Marketing 101 shows how thoroughly this patois now pervades sport. Manchester United. New York Yankees. Chicago Bulls. If you still think of them merely as sporting clubs, you are so five minutes ago: they're brands, ripe for extending, leveraging, repositioning and spinning off from.

As for diluting said brand, well, it's equivalent as a commercial taboo to stepping on Elvis's Blue Suede Shoes. Knock me down, step in my face, slander my name all over the place… just don't dilute my brand.

Since inception, the IPL has worn its brand value like a corroboration of inner virtue. On the eve of this tournament, under the headline "Brand IPL touches the sky", the league's website reverberated with the announcement that Brand Finance, a branding consultancy, had valued the brand value of the IPL brand at $4.13 billion worth of brand - which is a lot of brand, brand-wise.

How Brand Finance arrived at that figure was unexplained, because such exercises, involving as they do mainly guesswork, marketing mumbo jumbo, and a few spreadsheets for appearance's sake, rejoice in their sense of magic, the illusion of money conjured from nothing by gee-whiz branding gurus. In the case of the IPL, of course, Modi started with rather more than nothing: there was already a deep and abiding Indian passion for the game, built over generations, which with the backing of an entrenched monopoly for its promotion, he set to exploiting. But I shouldn't spoil the illusion.

Since Modi's Mumbai sign-off, much commentary has been focused on the brand-dilution potential inherent in its scandals. MS Dhoni doesn't think we should worry: "IPL as a brand can survive on its own." Shilpa Shetty, "brand ambassador" of the Rajasthan Royals, tweets that we should: "Custodians of Cricket must not hamper d Brandvalue of this viable sport." Hampering d Brandvalue, insists new IPL boss Chirayu Amin, is the furthest thing from his mind: "IPL's brand image is strong and nobody can touch that." Harsha Bhogle, however, frets for the nation: "Within the cricket world, Brand India will take a hit."

Not much more than a week after Modi's first tell-all tweets, the media was anxiously consulting Brand Finance's managing director, Unni Krishnan. Had there been any brand dilution yet? It was, said the soothsayer gravely, "too early to say". He could, however, confirm the following: "The wealth that can be created by the brand is going to be substantially significant for many stakeholders. A conducive ecosystem has to be created to move the brand to the next level… We have to build the requisite bandwidth to monetise these opportunities." Er, yeah… what he said. Anyway, placing a value on the IPL brand has clearly been quite beneficial to Brand Finance's brand.

What's missing from these bromides of the brandscape is any sense that there is a game involved, that cricket might be at risk of sustaining collateral damage. Ten years ago the spectre of match-fixing caused fans to despair of the damage to their beloved game; some of us still can't look at cricket in quite the same way. The assumption now is that the interests of the brand and of the game overlap to the degree that cricket need hardly be mentioned.

But do they overlap so exactly? A game is a cultural activity, operating at myriad levels, all of which need to be maintained, nurtured, protected. In the world of the brand, all that really matters is the face shown the public, the spectacle, the image. A game depends on fair dealing, robust processes and good people prepared to place their individual interests second. Both a game and a brand are at reputational risk, but in the case of the brand only the appearance of respectability and integrity is essential, and that can be achieved, or so it is usually felt, by sound media management, and at worst post hoc damage control. Nike runners produced in Asian sweatshops? Not a problem, unless it affects sales. Tiger Woods a compulsive multiple adulterer? Better try keeping it quiet, lest "Brand Tiger" be imperiled.

 
 
A game is a cultural activity, operating at myriad levels, all of which need to be maintained, nurtured, protected. In the world of the brand, all that really matters is the face shown the public, the spectacle, the image
 

So this is not a problem confined to the IPL or India. It applies wherever sport meets big corporate interests, and these days that means everywhere. Australia, moreover, has little to teach anyone on this subject. Consider this country's scandal of the moment, involving the National Rugby League and its premier team, the Melbourne Storm. The Storm, the vanguard of the code's push into the south, has been stripped of honours after being revealed by an anonymous whistle-blower to have been systematically and fraudulently breaching the salary cap.

Salary cap rorts are a common Australian phenomenon; the attitude to them recalls the philosophy popularly applied to gays in the US military: "Don't ask, don't tell." The Melbourne Storm CEO implicated in this particular debacle argues that "everyone does it"; 92% of respondents to an online poll last week agreed. But the NRL declines to widen or deepen its investigations because, frankly, the stakes are too high; better to scapegoat one club pour encourager les autres. The situation is exacerbated by the NRL being half-owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, which has no interest in the scandal worsening because of the risk of further dilution of its hard-won brand.

Has something similar happened in the IPL? One of the more candid critiques of events has been provided by MAK Pataudi, member of the governing council that either knew everything and did nothing (by Modi's account), or nothing and will henceforward do everything (by its own). According to Pataudi, he and his fellow council members simply assumed "things were okay"; indeed they were "carried away with how well everything was going". Then this: "I saw the crowds, the IPL was very popular... the dirt that has been attached to it is sad... but as long as the product was good, I was happy.' When one of Indian cricket's greats attends a game and simply sees a "product", then the brand truly has become a graven idol. But then it's perhaps not so surprising. So transfixed has the BCCI been by its own commercial prowess over the last three years that agencies with the potential to impede have been held at a haughty arm's length. Move along, ICC Anti-Corruption Unit. There's nothing to see here, World Anti-Doping Authority. Don't bother us now - we're busy brand-building.

The brand mentality is now at odds with the thorough investigation that cricket surely needs. The BCCI will be anxious to contain the damage, to look nowhere it does not absolutely have to, and to place as much blue water between itself and Modi as possible. Because to a brand, as distinct from a game, administrative corruption is no biggie, providing it remains out of sight. Crooked players? That would be a party-pooping diluter. But do IPL fans care about conflict of interest and nepotism, about free-floating facilitation fees and freely given sweat equity? Well, certainly not if they don't hear about it. A slightly seedy reputation? That can be lived with. Some have already conjectured that an aura of sleaze will invest the IPL with further tawdry glamour - in which case it's high time the D Company had its own franchise.

Where's cricket in all this? Good question. Because if that $4 billion of brand is scraped away, somewhere beneath lies a worldwide game whose value cannot be priced, even by the mavens of Brand Finance. The BCCI, then, has a grave responsibility - a responsibility that's actually greater than simply protecting an oh-so-valuable brand from the unspeakable horrors of dilution.

Gideon Haigh is a cricket historian and writer

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Posted by AlokJoshi on (May 9, 2010, 17:50 GMT)

"Where's cricket in all this?" writes Gideon. I've a few thoughts: 1) If IPL isn't about cricket, then why is a cricket historian writing about it! 2) "Where's... this" would seem to suggest that if Mahela scores a 100 for IPL team KXIP it is not cricket, only a 100 for SL in T20 WC has pedigree! 3) IPL's cricketing elements will remain undiminished even if one were to assume IPL brand value to be way short of $4B; hope it doesn't require rocket science to figure that out! 4) Agree, there are elements of IPL which are irksome- these must be ironed out by Amin and co, as has been indicated. 5) Next year, IPL will be back, may ebb a bit depending on the fallout of investigations into the alleged irregularities. However, its cricketing elements may potentially be bettered. You must not fret or sweat over IPL brand valuation or remain etched in history, instead shd look at future with purpose and a positive bent of mind. Gideon, by the way, Harsha has moved over IPL - when will you?

Posted by mikeindex on (May 8, 2010, 18:05 GMT)

@ Ranjeet: Gideon Haigh has spent the last twenty years writing about 'cricket in general, its nuances, its techniques, its players' - try reading 'Silent Revolutions' for a start. He is possibly the most interesting and wide-ranging cricket essayist since CLR James. If you think he does nothing but rant about the IPL it reveals the limitations of your reading not his writing. What would be tedious (if it wasn't so funny) is all the guys who seem to live only to watch cricinfo's columns for anything the slightest bit negative about anyone or anything to do with the IPL and then leap out and scream about it. Could almost make you believe in conspiracy theory.

Posted by RohanChoukkar on (May 8, 2010, 10:08 GMT)

I agree with the article. The IPL is, quite frankly, yawn-inducing. The cricket is mediocre - flat pitches, small grounds, pathetic fielding. The camera focusses more on ads on the giant screens, cheerleaders and the oversized MRF balloon than the cricket, commentators are irritating and hysterical. Money in cricket is fine as long as it doesn't lead to this disgusting spectacle we see today. As for Lalit Modi, he isn't being hounded enough. I hope that smirk is wiped off his face permanently. His contribution is simply over-rated. Cricket is a passion in India, and is controlled by a monopoly which ruthlessly stifles all competition (read ICL). Anything less than the current size of the league would simply smack of incompetence.

Posted by Quazar on (May 8, 2010, 8:16 GMT)

Yawn.

Posted by jay57870 on (May 7, 2010, 15:44 GMT)

Cricket is big business. Brands are a part of it. Remember Dr WG Grace? He was the original brand ambassador: as an 'amateur,' he amassed money from match/tour fees and testimonials. Fans flocked to the grounds to see him play. The game took off. Other big brand names followed: Hobbs, Bradman ... and now Sachin. TIME named him one of "The 100 Most Influential People in the World," with an excerpt: "Sports heroes such as Tendulkar, 37, stand for national dignity in a way that perhaps only a postcolonial nation can understand." Yes Mr GH, there are many noteworthy people in Indian cricket too: Kumble, Dravid, Ganguly, to name a few, who all play in the IPL and are good role models for other players. Plus the multi-national/cultural/ethnic makeup of teams has promoted a discernible spirit of sportsmanship -- the camaraderie, huddles, post-game hand-shakes; and some civility too (Dharamsala effect? Mahabharata?) The Good Doc would have loved to entertain IPL fans and rake in the big bucks!

Posted by ranjeetc on (May 7, 2010, 7:17 GMT)

You're articles are as annoying as your constant incessant rabid diatribes about everything BCCI, IPL, Lalit Modi, Twenty 20, blah blah blah. Why don't you spend some time talking about cricket in general, its nuances, its techniques, its players, then maybe viewers like me who have gotten tired and drained reading about the same old chirping. Next time I wouldn't even waste my time reading your articles.

Posted by   on (May 7, 2010, 5:57 GMT)

If there is nothing wrong putting brand before the cricket, then BCCI should not own it. Make it independent, and let other league also in the competition. Rather a competitor league ICL was crushed through ICC! Why? My Indians' friends should justify it whi thinks there is nothing wrong putting brand before the cricket.

Posted by FallsDown on (May 7, 2010, 3:52 GMT)

Gideon seems to have a healthy distaste for marketing lingo and loads of disgust at management graduates reducing everything on earth (sport, country, art) to financial terms...I share the distaste and the disgust.

Posted by McGorium on (May 7, 2010, 3:31 GMT)

Great article, Gideon. I am an Indian of similar persuasion re. IPL (T20 is OK, I mean IPL). They've been neck deep in unethical tactics since strong-arming the ICL into oblivion (it was monopolistic, and anti-competition. Turns out, per latest news, Modi was plotting an ICL in England, by circumventing the ECB. Oh, the hypocrisy!). And for those who believe that it's good just because there's a market for it, well, there's a market for illegal drugs. You'll be hard pressed to find a politician willing to legalize and tax cocaine to cut the fiscal deficit, and hence inflation. There's probably a market for turning the Taj Mahal and Red Fort into 5 star hotels, or selling them outright. There's not a huge market for research in history and the arts, but it's done nevertheless. Not everything can be valued by the amount someone is willing to pay for it. It's like selling your soul for a fistful of dollars, and that's what Gideon is talking about.

Posted by Gizza on (May 7, 2010, 2:41 GMT)

To paraphrase Nietzche and Kanye West "What does not kill the IPL makes it stronger" Gideon and other anti-T20/IPL fanatics are trying their best to criticise the glamour, the flair, the extreme commercialisation and the outright power that Modi and the IPL as a whole possesses.

Interestingly the criticisers (both Indian and non-Indian) attempt to link the success of the IPL to excessive Indian patriotism. They forget about the success the IPL has had in other countries, sigh...

Going back to the stronger quote, if Modi can survive this controversy he will be unstoppable. If the IPL can survice this controversy it and the franchises will be unstoppable. Modi is unlikely to survive but the IPL most likely will. So let this be a warning to all of the white-clothed loving elitists out there (particularly the jealous ones) - You are only feeding the "monster" The more accuse and stereotype Indians and other T20 lovers, the more they will stick to the IPL and other T20 tournaments.

Posted by SrinR on (May 7, 2010, 1:14 GMT)

Yeah, agree with the main thrust of this column. Gideon Haigh usually has something adverse to say about India and BCCI. This time though, there is something worthwhile hidden amidst the general hate tirade. Yeah, the whole "brand" talk - that can be chalked up to the mythical status of the IIMs - premier business schools of India which only take the best and the brightest. Everyone aspires to them, so you will come across people "elevating" themselves above the rest by spouting business school jargon. Having said that, Haigh gets it wrong about Pataudi: by "product", he simply meant the whole package - cricket plus entertainment. So, in summary, i agree that cricket should take precedence over "brand", the rest is all masala.

Posted by knowledge_eater on (May 7, 2010, 0:22 GMT)

Btw. does anyone follow what has been happening to Greece ? (The Founder of Olympics) They are fighting over disastrous flowed money distribution. And lack of money is causing havoc. Cricket is flooding with money right now. Its great but we shouldn't get carried away. If thats what you meant Mr. GH then you are spot on. However, I also agree if you didn't have this kind of approach, very less people have read your points. Peace. Journalism 101. Check. I will be calm next time.

Posted by   on (May 6, 2010, 19:54 GMT)

Great Post Gideon. Ever since Twenty20 Cup debuted in England, cricket has become a cabaret dancer and those who were to look after her; they are only busy designing her outfits and stages to perform on. Patrons will still walk in to see her trying to parade her dance and acting skills that she mastered far away dedicating hours and years, but will only be able to watch her glittering clothing or lack of it and moves that her dance gurus never taught her. So business will survive even after the soul and artist in that dancer will be long gone. In this party where all will be joyful, only those who had dream of that girl to inspire others to appreciate and go on to learn to dance, will cry.

Posted by juliet on (May 6, 2010, 15:11 GMT)

Thanks, GH, I really enjoyed this article. Several self-appointed management gurus have deigned to lay out some definitions of brands and marketing in their comments for Gideon and the rest of us to apparently learn from. I think they're missing the point. I don't see Gideon arguing that sport shouldn't make money. However, it is flippant to dismiss corruption and sleaze in sport as just another corporate governance issue. You can't compare the IPL to Satyam. A failure of trust in the IPL has profound implications for how the game is viewed, played, and nurtured - not just within the franchise world but between national teams as well (not least because asset price escalation in sport is only a step away from fixing games to justify ridiculous valuations). In our rush to corporatise the sport and brand it appropriately, we might just forget that.

Posted by TATTUs on (May 6, 2010, 14:47 GMT)

Absolutely brilliant piece. Correct and unbiased observations. I am 100% for the sport not being treated as a brand. And the cricketers in the GC are disgracing themselves. I expected this article too to go the English upstate mumbo-jumbo way. But really nice. Many people giving biased opinions and generalizing this article with other English writers, need to read it carefully and understand what he is trying to say. A little bit of history knowledge of Indian cricket administration wont be bad before trying to understand this in the right perspective.

Posted by eddsnake on (May 6, 2010, 14:28 GMT)

Great article. The IPL seems to see itself much more as an exciting new brand, than merely a very rich league that is part of a centuries old GAME. The fact that the brand is full of ho-hum Indian domestic players, and overseas players looking for one or two last big pay cheques before they retire, seems to have passed all these jingoistic Indian IPL fans by.

I'd much rather watch the World Twenty20, much better entertainment and some real human interest stories with the likes of Afghanistan. It's also a far better standard of cricket.

Posted by concerned_cricketer on (May 6, 2010, 13:33 GMT)

Brand or no brand, the cricket involved was worth watching. And as along as that remains the case, I will keep watching it whether its Modi or Osama or Bush or any worse goon runs it. Hopefully Chirayu Amin will put in some good work towards cleaning it up. As along as the franchises old and new are able to operate, that's good enough. It doesnot need to be squeaky clean for me to be interested in it. I suspect that's the case for a lot of people as is suggested by the fact that cricket has retained popularity despite all that Engalnd and Australia did in the days when they held the power.

Posted by Auckland_New_Zealanders on (May 6, 2010, 12:50 GMT)

The underlying assumption of this article, that the IPL Brand and cricket as a concept are permanently entangled, and damage done to the IPL Brand means damage done to cricket is flawed. There are many cricket fans the World over who have no interest in the IPL, which after all is a domestic competition. If the IPL were to fold, given the demand for cricket, especially in India, something else would rapidly take its place. Someone claiming to be a cricket historian should understand that fads come, change the landscape, and then inevitably fade, but as long as the primary concept, in this case the sport of cricket, is strong and culturally ingrained, which it is, then it will not just survive, but evolve. Cricket will keep the good things from the IPL era, dispose of the bad, and no doubt be much different in 10 years from now, much in the same way it was different 10 years ago. It will still be cricket, but a better type of cricket, and we will probably enjoy it even more.

Posted by ram5160 on (May 6, 2010, 12:38 GMT)

Better than most of ur other IPL bashing articles. Please do find the time to write articles about other topics.

Posted by CricFin on (May 6, 2010, 12:25 GMT)

Branding is nothing but market positioning. IPL T20 market is positioning is different from ODI and Tests. If you want pure cricket go and watch Ranji cricket but again cricinfo wants to position itself as cricket journalism website rather than as cricket score board website (which it used to be ) .This is the 'market ' reason why there are n number of IPL article rather than articles about Ranji trophy.

IPL runs for 60 odd days but we read IPL articles for 360 days. Ranji runs for 300 days but we rarely read about it .why? If you care so much for cricket promote Ranji cricket in cricinfo instead of writing about IPL every day.

Stick to cricket please. Concept of branding is beyond your scope.

There are lots of book available in the market for Branding concept make use of them.

Posted by knowledge_eater on (May 6, 2010, 12:15 GMT)

Finally, there are some good points raised, but tone will never changed haha never-mind thats how you write (at least for IPL) .. so thats that. you didn't leave America in this too lol. Anyways, but it was pity, but always remember this that "Riches never share money or invest money unless they have enough till they are about to puke money." So, thats why IPL was like that, as simple as that. Did you ever ask why Australian prime minister is among the top ten prime minister, in terms of is income ? , where many homes will struggle to get electricity ? Look, it is the rule of stupid millionaires. "Unless we won't be billionaires" we will not give you 100 Rs. tip. If people say this kind of things happen only in India then its biggest hypocritical lie. Don't worry though revolution will come, there will be proper money distribution in future IPL. Cricket will be hopefully dominant attraction. You keep going though GH, as long as there is IPL, there will be Giedon Haigh. Peace

Posted by vineetkarthi on (May 6, 2010, 11:27 GMT)

Gideon Haigh makes the mistake of thinking that those who are dealing with IPL think that the brand will survive without the game. In any case, the brand will lose value the moment the centrality of the game to the concept is sacrificed. As for his repeated assertion that Indians are tolerant of all wrong doings and are very naive (an aura of sleaze will invest the IPL with further tawdry glamour), the most polite thing I can think of saying is that that is a silly assumption. Indian cricket lovers are deeply saddened by the current set of events and want the mess to be cleaned up as soon as possible. As for collateral damage to the game, the author is mixing up issues (match fixing is very different from the current controversy). In any case, I cannot see it having a worser impact on the game than bad behaviour on the cricket field, a weak ICC that cannot take a stand on obvious issues like chucking or pathetic umpiring.t

Posted by justjonty on (May 6, 2010, 11:12 GMT)

Mr. Haigh, I work in advertising and deal with brands on a day to day basis. Let me tell you that you dont seem to understand the process of branding well. Brands are intertwined with the product. Simply put, better the product greater its brand value.You can brand for all I care but that isn't going to change the "consumers" perception if the product is good. In this case, the product was liked by many millions across India, and who are you or me to deny people a legitimate form of entertainment. If there is sleaze money in the IPL, our government is good enough to deal with it. Proof for this lies in the way our government handled the Sathyam scam and how they protected the interests of all stakeholders. I am not a great fan of the IPL. I love the game and I dont think there is anything that can substitute for test cricket. But if so many people in this country and for that matter in other countries think otherwise, who are you to rubbish it. Your articles smack of an anti India bias

Posted by Rahul_78 on (May 6, 2010, 10:12 GMT)

I am expecting next week from Gideon a sarcastic article on sachin tendulkar and his fans on how he managed to get 100000 followers on twitter in 1 day. Put the game before Sachin...

Posted by Bharat_number_1 on (May 6, 2010, 8:01 GMT)

Whats so wrong with IPL being a brand? No one said the model should be applied across all cricketing aspects. Let the IPL be a money generating, cricket p0rn creating, machine... who cares so long as that money is then pumped into making new stadii, creating new facilities for training and sport education and toward rewarding those cricketers. Gideon Haigh is extremely eloquent, but suffers from a great deal of flawed logic and tunnel vision. Theres nothing wrong with a little bit of dessert and marketing that desert - so long as the integrity of the cricketing system is still sound. From the first IPL's revenues a stadium is being built at Jammu & Kashmir - I dont see that as a point in any of your ramblings against the IPL.

Posted by Ajayvs on (May 6, 2010, 7:58 GMT)

i Agree with Gidon Haigh, "With Great power comes great responsibility". BCCI should not just be concerned about building the Brand IPL and making money. It should make sure that all the funding is coming from right sources and there are no underhand deals anywhere. It should also make sure that the revenue generated out of IPL is properly utilized in the betterment of cricket. IPL has brought many good things on plate. It has brought financial security for good domestic players and also brought in good money for stars like in other sports like football. It will be a pity if a good concept is lost because of greed and mismanagement. My request to the BCCI, please don't let us down, people in this country (India) love and worship this sport.

Posted by anuradha_d on (May 6, 2010, 7:15 GMT)

Is Gideon Haigh an Englishman? English have been the loudest to rant against IPL, against Modi and BCCI Like all rants this one will also go largely unregistered....as the evolution of cricket takes it's natural course.

Did any one seek permission from the Indians and rest of the subcontinentatl world back in 1970s when putting colored motely attires and 50 over versions into cricket "spoiling" it's purest form ??

Where it's followed the most and where the economics is driven most from is the place that will drive the evolution of cricket.

The rantings of English sound nothing more than a sour grapes at not having an iota of influence on the ongoing evolution in the game they have cotrolled for centuires

a_D

Posted by AbhiPro on (May 6, 2010, 6:49 GMT)

Gideon, I am a huge fan of your writing as you are one of the few who know a spade, when they see one, and call it a spade as well. You are right, everyone is obsessed about the brand and pays scant respect to the game that underlies the brand. But I doubt whether anyone in his proper senses would believe that "an aura of sleaze will invest the IPL with further tawdry glamour". I think that is taking BCCI-IPL bashing to another level. I do agree with your take on Tiger Pataudi. I was almost in awe of the man before his "I saw the crowds, the IPL was very popular... the dirt that has been attached to it is sad... but as long as the product was good, I was happy" comment. What was he thinking? Just another way of saying the end justifies the means, ain't it? The lesser said about the other two cricketer members of the Governing Council, the better. Especially Shastri's defence in an interview to Ayaz Memon was laughable.

Posted by HundredPercentBarcelonista on (May 6, 2010, 6:44 GMT)

Really good piece. Unfortunately I see the point being lost to the many who will comment here on Gideon's bias.

Posted by nashdwaj on (May 6, 2010, 6:21 GMT)

Worthless article. Same colored lenses blurring your perspective. Also it seems you seem to be Giddy and High on something.

Posted by   on (May 6, 2010, 6:03 GMT)

Awesome mate but as usual be prepared for my hyper nationalistic countrymen to hound you ... and you hit the hot the nail on the head with this farce called branding even making a paper cup can be explained but can never explain this"BRANDING"

Posted by Bharat_number_1 on (May 6, 2010, 5:58 GMT)

Another day, another Gideon Haigh article that can be summarized as: "WAAAA, WAAAA. I dont want to grow up." Another exhibition of how little he knows about the real world.

Posted by Zigor on (May 6, 2010, 5:49 GMT)

My friend Gideon, IPL is here to stay. I see it's brand value doubling in 3-5 years with more teams.Once they have some international teams participating, the tournament will get bigger.As you are a historian, you might know that every big thing has some cons attached to it.I think as these flaws have been detected early, they will be removed.

Posted by   on (May 6, 2010, 5:43 GMT)

And this is why Gideon Haigh is the best, living cricket writer full stop.

Posted by Steve145 on (May 6, 2010, 5:34 GMT)

Very good article I thought. Really serves to seperate those who believe in cricket and those who are just on for the ride. The people who say to stop whinging about the IPL because its just entertainment and that's ok should have a look at this article. It shows the real problems that the IPL is facing, and why it has so little to do with cricket. As a concept, it is ok, and if it can be fixed, its ok, but the fact is if the powerhouses in cricket do not care about the game enough, then it will struggle to overcome adversities.

Posted by   on (May 6, 2010, 4:52 GMT)

Let's be more direct than Gideon Haigh has been. Ask how do these administrators got trained? What they are taught? The answer is simple: SELL NO MATTER WHAT! As a result, universities systematically kill any aesthetic or moralistic appeal which may come in the way. It is not the BCCI, but ICC is the main culprit. It leads from the front. I hope that most of you must have remembered that highlight of world cup matches was banned on youtube! I don't see that this problem of putting the brand first then cricket going away any soon. The problem is much bigger as the schools how train MBAs too are the part of the problem.

A probable remedy can be that some leading cricketer(s) should remain part of the administrative team. The present incidence has tarnished the reputation of both Shastri,and Gavaskar a little. But still, the presence of professional and well-known cricketers of their time would increase the diversity and resilience of the system.

Posted by geetee10 on (May 6, 2010, 4:49 GMT)

The IPL had a few good things going for it (high intensity games, good pay for players etc), it is a pity that the ugly things could not be prevented. A complete overhaul is necessary to preserve Cricket as a spectator sport and save the image of the game from these uneccessary brand building at any cost exercises. As for Pataudi, R Shastri and S Gavaskar are concerned their excuse that they were overseeing only cricketing issues does not cut much ice. First of all if you are employed by any institution in any capacity, it is your duty to sense wrong doings and raise an alarm, heck even drivers quit jobs if their bosses are goondas, secondly from a cricketing perspective also some of the decisions are idiotic, like playing 96 odd matches (from next season) in the summer within 45 days - this is plain stupid. It seems more like Lalit Modi was dictating on all issues - cricketing or otherwise and these honourable GC members were signing on the dotted line and collecting their paycheques

Posted by Percy_Fender on (May 6, 2010, 4:31 GMT)

The game, in this case cricket, will always be more important than the brand that seeks to sponsor its furtherence. Whether it was Packer's package in 1978, or Mark Mascheranhas' in regard to broadcasting rights, or the BCCI's creature, the IPL,the game of cricket will always be what causes viewership. The glitz and glamour of the IPL seemed to be greater than the game only to the people who believed that these trappings are needed for the game to survive. In India,the game will always be more important as the relative success of the ICL showed despite it being outlawed by the ICC and the BCCI. I believe it is the same in England and Australia., where Benson and Hedges, Prudential and others have sponsored the game. I wonder how much the B & H brand gained as a result or how many people approached Prudential for insurance. I believe it is a fallacy to think that only something as crass as the IPL was can save the game.Buffs will see a game be it at Lords or at the Gymkhana ground.

Posted by Mclarenman on (May 6, 2010, 4:23 GMT)

"Hampering d Brandvalue." I LOL'd because you took the trouble to type it that way.

Posted by TheOnlyEmperor on (May 6, 2010, 4:10 GMT)

IPL is the umbrella brand with the various versions as its sub-brands. IPL-3 has by far been the most successful, in terms of putting all the elements that maketh a brand personality together. Many have the mistsken notion that the scandals during the conduct of IPL-3 affect the brand. They don't, because they have nothing to do with it. If you are confused, the product here is 20-20 cricket and the brand IPL offers this to the global audience in a certain way. Consider the damp squib going on in the WI - there's no "branding" so to speak on the same product offering. Franchise valuations ought to be done current and potential income flows based on the model in place. Given the limited number of franchises, the speculative element in valuation also comes in because of demand-supply. Now, given this, what the heck is giddy-hi talking about?

Posted by anoopsy on (May 6, 2010, 3:24 GMT)

This from the guy who equates IPL to India and says India is wretched. Its like saying Australia is a land of group sex maniacs because their football is riddled with it.

Posted by anoopsy on (May 6, 2010, 3:20 GMT)

Two words. Hate. Mongering.

Posted by Gizza on (May 6, 2010, 3:14 GMT)

Where does the $4 billion figure come from? It comes from the analysts forecasting various accounting and financial numbers like sales, revenue, costs, debt levels, etc. from now til probably 10 or 15 years into the future. So their value estimate comes from predicting how many people in the future watch the IPL on TV, how many people are coming through the gates, how much money is coming from the sponsors, how much it is costing to maintain the stadiums, and so forth...

Of course guessing what these numbers will be in the future is hard but they are not pulled out of thin air like anti-market fundies like Gideon have been ranting on about since the GFC.

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Gideon HaighClose
Gideon Haigh Born in London of a Yorkshire father, raised in Australia by a Tasmanian mother, Gideon Haigh lives in Melbourne with a cat, Trumper. He has written 19 books and edited a further seven. He is also a life member and perennial vice-president of the South Yarra CC.

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