Shake the world cup, stir up business

The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup that starts today is drawing a strong response from brands hoping to prop up consumption during the festival season. This works both ways for consumer goods companies as well as the cricket event that is far behind but gaining on IPL in advertising budgets. A spread-out calendar of cricketing events played in the subcontinent increases corporate leverage of the game and, in turn, strengthens less popular cricketing franchises like the women’s tournament that have captured the collective imagination. The one-day format of the World Cup keeps itself relevant against T20 that collects more eyeballs but offers less advertising inventory. The knock-on effects in hospitality and travel from this tournament being staged across 10 cities provide a leg-up to these sectors at the national and regional levels. It reinforces support to domestic tourism on capacities built in the run-up to this year’s G20 summit.

Measured against international tournaments in other sports like football and tennis, the cricket World Cup is a minnow. It needs Indian consumers to push it into the big league. From a financial perspective, it is entwined with India’s cricketing fortunes, which have been looking up in both the men’s and women’s versions of the game. IPL gains some of its popularity by showcasing Indian talent uniformly throughout the season. But the World Cup is a better platform to establish a cricketing nation’s credentials and, for the lack of another word, class. Success here draws more money and sporting talent into the ecosystem. A decent Indian showing in this tournament is good for the health of cricket in the country and, by association, in cricket-playing countries where the sport competes with others for audience reach. Ergo, for the commerce that feeds off this beast.

International cricket has an overdependence on India’s fixation with the sport. ICC has a concentrated growth engine that helps it broaden cricket’s appeal globally. The World Cup should make the economics around the sport more robust.


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