Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Some impact of the Indian team crashing out of the World Cup

The World Cup is turning out to have more surprises than anybody would have thought when the world cup was just going to start.

First, there was the shock about Pakistan getting eliminated from the World Cup, and then the heinousness of Bob Woolmer's murder that left a pall of shock and gloom over the World Cup. The subsequent stories emnating about the process of investigation and questioning are turning this into a crime thriller in the nature of a whodunit. The whole Pakistani team and a few others are investigated, and numerous other people come up with their own theories, and get their 15 minutes in the news.

Then, for us in India, the shock of India's departure from the World Cup is a shock from which I have yet to see people recover. There is a lot of heart-wringing in the media about how this is just a game, and so what if the Indian team lost, just get over it, it happens. For right or wrong reasons, cricket in India is more in the nature of a religion, and anybody who cannot understand why there is so much public reaction are just ignoring the immense popularity and fan following of the game (at the same time, people resorting to violence need to be condemned).

Unless the cricket team gets back to its winning ways, there is going to be a lot of repurcussions. Everybody wants some accounting for this performance, and asking for Sharad Pawar's resignation is not going to lead anywhere. Similarly, asking for Vengsarkar's head due to he being the head of the selectors is not going to do anything. People in the firing line are going to be the coach, and some players. For the first time, I have seen people seriously question about the utlity of retaining Sachin in the team, and even an year ago, such talk would have sounded like blasphemy.

There are going to be immense business decisions due to this loss as well. For some time now, the BCCI and ICC have been getting richer due to sponsors willing to spend more for the TV rights of tournaments, and there will likely be a real hit this time due to much reduced sub-continental viewership. In addition, there are daily reports about companies that have had significant adverising riding on the World Cup pushing for rate reduction, or for trimming their budgets. Already, a number of world cup related ads are now off TV.

Sporting sponsorship contracts for players are likely to get more performance linked as companies may not be willing to get locked into a 1-2 year contract, and then find themselves in a soup with the player under-performing and not having much utility in ads.

Other sports may find more money and attention depicted on them. For example, in the case of chess and golf, we have people who have had great achievements, and promise of much more, but there is hardly any focus, and the same for a number of other sports. These sports can definitely benefit from greater focus and public support.

This all comes with a rider, given the fickle nature of the Indian public, it can easily happen that the Indian team does very well in their next encounters over the next few months, and becomes the darling of the masses again.

Labels: ,

If you like these writings, you can subscribe to this feed to get new postsSite Feed Site Feed

posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 12:47 PM