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Now that you have IPL and hopefully the still alive (ICL…remember the one that the Zee started???) have started the Pro-Sports business in India, may be there is hope that one day …this lifetime…. the winner of the IPL plays the winner of the ICL. A true advertisers delight.  

What? Hey, that’s what the Super Bowl is all about. It’s the winner of the American Football Conference playing the winner of the National Football conference.  

First things first, IPL is supposed to be modeled after the Soccer leagues particularly the English premier league. The soccer leagues model are a top down model, i.e., from a capitalistic perspective, the league was formed first, then came the teams, then the players and so on and so forth. The structure is intrinsically capitalistic, go and get the best talent money can buy, and hope that the audience will pay for it.  With enough brow beating (like the recent Bombay vs. north Indian debate) and emotional advertising, fence sitters could be turned into fans. This model works on the assumption that the supply of players is from the international arena, and the prices are pretty much…well “auction-able”.   The inherent issue with this model is that the richer team tends to win. Now, for gods sake put the “under dog could win any day” funda to rest for second. Once a team starts a slump it takes quiet a bit of time for it to to turn around. In a capital-intensive business this could be dangerous. Evidence: the English cricket team, dozens of soccer teams and the perennial Arizona Cardinals.

Now, the NFL is what I would call bottoms up approach. Teams existed before the leagues were formed, local ties were deeply established, fan base well set. Then leages came in and then all of them merged to form the NFL. There are teams in the NFL that haven’t won many games for years yet they are financially solid for this reason. Reason? Local Sports fans turn to their sports team for solace, how else do you explain the tripling of the team values (Cowboys, Eagles, Pats, Redskins etc… ) between 1998 and 2005, when the great dot com burst and the 9/11 episode happen in that time-frame?  At the last count Dallas and Redskins crossed the $ 1BN evaluation mark. One of the primary reasons I believe they have managed to keep some equality going in the NFL is the way players are recruited and allocated to the teams.  Every April NFL picks (or shall I say “drafts” keeping with the military connotations of the game … I believe Normal S’koff used a Hail Mary during the IRAQ war. whatever) a bunch of new comers primarily from the college football circuit. They are ranked and then drafted; the best get picked in the first draft, and the next in the second draft and so on. Now the first draft picks are sent to the team that performed the worst the previous year, this way they can ensure that all teams get a shot at getting good talent. Not so capitalistic in the land of capitalism eh? For more info on the deals look up concept of Free Agent on google). I know your next question: So why do certain teams win and certain ones loose? That’s brings me to the story one of my bosses told me earlier in my work life…Lovers Beer anyone? In this game no matter who plays , all players loose. The point is: you can have the best of talent, but with poor management and culture there is only so much you can get done. All this is for another Blog. 

So where does U-19 come in? Well I believe, like the rest of the industries, Indian cricket does not have to go through a learning curve and can implement learning’s from others that have walked the prickly paths. U-19, now that it has come to the limelight is going to have a huge media following, televised matches, ratings and all that. IPL could draft a certain number of players that come out of U-19, assuming that these kids do not want to do college etc…rank them and allocate them to the IPL teams that faired poorly the previous year.  The current international player rooster is ok to give IPL a kick-start, but for a country like India, local teams with local players may bring home more success in the long run. For a true super-bowl to occur BCCI will have to legitimize ICL, unimaginable at this point, but there is enough room for more…now and in the near future. Two local teams are more fun than one. New York has two teams (Giants, Jets), San Fransisco and  Oakland (like Mumbai and Pune) have a team each, the state of Florida has three or four teams. There is no reason why ICL should not be assisted to grow and get us to an Indian version of the Super Bowl, then who the hell needs a world cup every four years???

Imagine… Manickchand with title sponsorship, Kingfisher official airline, Mallika Sherawat or Rakhee Sawant having a wardrobe malfunction and the old faithful Pentagram or Indus Creed or Pentagram doing the half time show…Looks good, let’s probably get Manickchand out of there….

Bottom line its good to be in cricket business in India, I bet a minimum 500% return on investment in a 10 year time frame. Cant wait for the IPO of one of these puppies.

By the way, I am not much of a cricket fan. Just cant help enjoying all the hooplah!!!


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