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How to build a world-conquering cricket franchise

It starts with getting a name that doesn't sound anything like an IPL team. Sort of

Alex Bowden

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Stuart Robertson of Hampshire, Sean Morris the CEO of Rajasthan Royals, Dr Allen Sammy of Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board, Rod Bransgrove the chairman of Hampshire, Mohammed Ebrahim and Andre Odendaal, the chairman and chief executive of the Cape Cobras and Manoj Badale the chairman of the Rajasthan Royals along with Shane Warne during the launch of the Royals 2020, London, February 8, 2010
The men behind the Royals franchise: if you don't watch out, they'll monetise your core strengths and progressively position your products © Getty Images
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The landscape of cricket is changing. I know this because I've seen it stated on a number of press releases recently. This week the landscape of cricket has changed because the Royals brand has spread into different countries - sorry, "territories". But for every canyon into which an old tradition will fall, a mountain of opportunity will spring up, and I've taken it upon myself to scale one of those mountains and claim it as my own. In the last 24 hours I have set up a cricket brand to rival the Royals.

The most important part of any brand is the name. Get that right and you're off to a flyer. My brand needed to be better than Royals. I considered Kings, but that was taken in the form of Kings XI Punjab. I considered Super Kings, but that was taken by Chennai Super Kings. Then it came to me. I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner. It was so simple, so pure, so immediately arresting: Mega Super Kings. Armed with a winning name, I headed out to sign up some franchises.

I was laughed out of my first meeting, because it was essentially just me and a name. For the second meeting, I claimed I was representing a "consortium" and that went better, but still I had no success. For my third meeting, I told them I was representing an Ahmedabad consortium and that was pretty much all they needed to know. They signed, and from there it was plain sailing.

Meetings from then on were a breeze. I used the word "brand" and referred to "the changing landscape of cricket". We talked about demographics and target markets, and if they looked like they were wavering, I said this was a "progressive product positioning solution", and that invariably won them over.

Now I'm an ideas man, but after coming up with the fantastic idea of calling us Mega Super Kings, I was a bit short of energy, so we're going to bang out the rest of the details later. What we've got so far is as follows: We are a global cricket brand with over 80 different franchises. We will all wear the same kit. We will share players. We will play each other every now and again.

That might seem like a lot of franchises, but that's the smartest part of the whole thing. Why limit yourself to just one franchise in any given country? Sorry, why limit yourself to just one franchise in any given territory? By signing up Durham, Lancashire, Yorkshire, Surrey and a number of other counties, we've extended our UK market reach dramatically. Similarly, by signing South Australia, Queensland and New South Wales, we've done the same in Australia.

What this means is that if you support Durham, you'll automatically support Lancashire as well, because Lancashire wear the same clothes and when they're on the TV, Steve Harmison will play for them. By the same token, if you support Lancashire, you'll also support Durham because of the clothes and because Andrew Flintoff will turn out for them in televised matches. When Durham play Lancashire, you'll buy two tickets to the match and so will your friends. You'll eat twice as many hot dogs and drink twice as much overpriced beer. There are literally no drawbacks.

Although it's a relatively small commercial market, I'm most excited about how things are going to pan out in Sri Lanka. This is because we've managed to welcome every single first-class side into the Mega Super Kings family. This should give rise to an unprecedented run of Mega Super Kings success in Sri Lanka, and that level of domination might just win over some of the remaining sides in other countries - sorry, territories. If that happens, these financial forecasts might not look quite so ludicrously optimistic.

RSS FeedAny or all quotes and facts in this article may be wholly or partly fiction (but you knew that already, didn't you?) Alex Bowden blogs at King Cricket

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