Indian Paisa League

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

IPL has ended on-field, another one just started off it! Despite all the ramblings, IPL has, in the last year three years of its existence established itself as a potent brand. BCCI’s coffers have swolen seven fold in these years and the filthy rich of the country have got an alternate money minting route. Establishing itself among the top rated professional sports league of the world, IPL has had a meteoric rise. Where does that leave the stakeholders of the big league? Let’s have a look.
Stakeholder 1: Lalit Modi and BCCI. They ought to be one entity but the way BCCI has treated Modi like a pariah, they need to be looked at separately.

Before this IPL, the only thing people knew about Modi, the man, was that he was a high flying cricket administrator with a penchant for getting photographed with Bollywood beauties and that he was rumored to be have been the de-facto chief minister during Vasundhara Raje’s reign in Rajasthan. Lalit K Modi has made sure that after IPL3, we know him as a man who single handedly brought about the downfall of a Union Minister and valiantly fought out the pressurizing tactics of the political as well as BCCI top brass. Despite being bowled out as the ICC Commissioner after the last ball of IPL-3 was bowled, Lalit Modi has ensured that he did not go down like a wimp.

There is certainly every chance the man with shady antecedents maybe as corrupt as he is being made out to be but its funny how people have flocked together to single him out and banish him into exile. Assuming that every charge being leveled out against him is true, isn’t it a reflection of the lack of administrative capabilities of the BCCI top brass who sang paeans about this man and his deeds until recently? If the rules were flouted, if the style of functioning of Lalit Modi was autocratic, why didn’t the officials raise eyebrows earlier?

There are two age old habits that we suffer from. First, our way of finding a solution to a problem is to find a scapegoat and blame it for all our ills. Second, we always look to try and bring down a man who is on the rise. Lalit Modi may not just be a victim here but the buck doesn’t stop at him. It’s the whole circus to blame. What the hell was Sharad Pawar doing all this while by patronizing Modi? He failed to check rising price rises being in Government and he couldn’t monitor IPL being in the BCCI. Shouldn't he step aside as well? The defense mechanism of politicians is that when you shoot allegations at them, they respond with confusing terms like a parliamentary probe, an inquiry commission and conspiracy theories to ward off the danger.

The IPL circus led to Lalit Modi raking in a lot of moolah and also bad name while BCCI, it seems, raked the moolah and ashamedly didn’t care for the bad name. Funnily, BCCI itself adjudicated in a case where it was an accused and declared itself holy as cow. The truth is that we all have short memories. The IPLGate may cause minor blemishes on the already stained BCCI but the power of money will write off the ills being spoken of against the stalwarts of BCCI. As for Modi, the shrewd guy will definitely fight his way back I assume.

Stakeholder 2: Franchisees

It was good going for the franchisees upto a month back when the Kochi lid was taken off. It opened a can of worms and all the franchisees caught the eye of I-T. As trials and tribulations follow, the franchisee owners now have a lot more to do than just sit back, cheer for their teams and laugh their way to the banks.

The valuation of teams has risen three fold over the last three years and that’s no joke. Watching Mukesh Ambani personally attend a lot of matches and spending a good three hours at the stadium convinces that serious money is involved.

The I-T investigation withstanding, IPL also guarantees free publicity to a few big names. Preity Zinta and Shilpa Shetty might not have had a single release in 2 years but they are in circulation only due to IPL. Lalit Modi, it is rumored, used to keep a camera following him throughout his stay at the stadiums.

These might be some tough days for the franchisees but the bucks keep flowing and that should keep them interested and happy.

Stakeholder 3: Players

They gained and gained some more. The amount of money that has flowed into the game has risen by the day. Imagine someone getting paid a million dollars for a 45 day period in a country where the per capita income is $1,032 and you will know what I am talking about. IPL has become an excuse for players to retire from an international career and focus on minting money. It’s a haven not just for the current stars but also for fringe players and other veterans missing out on international action. To add to it, there are after match parties and a lot of fun stuff to keep the young fresh blood engaged. IPL is one big party for these guys and they stand to only win from the money spinner called IPL. I reckon if you pay them half as much as they are being paid now, the players will still love to play.

Stakeholder 4: Media

IPL has guaranteed a surge in TV viewership. People love to read about the IPL, both on and off the field. Dedicated shows and special capsules with pre-analysis and post-analysis garner a lot of TRPs. The ad rates have sky rocketed and the news folks don’t have to venture out too far to get news. It is easier to report how Yuvraj received a peck from Preity Zinta than travel down to Dantewada and report from the massacre site there. Media has had a field day in all these three years of IPL, fanning controversies and spreading news on false innuendos. IPL has provided substantial fodder for them. IPL 1 gave the slap-gate, IPL 2 gave the fake IPL player blog and IPL 3 had the tweet.

In the land where news channels talk about a visit to the “steps to the heaven” and “aliens kidnapping a cow” without accountability, no one is bothered to question them when they claim “insider info” on wrongdoings within IPL during the news prime time to boost TRPs. Sitting in cozy air conditioned news rooms and having drawing room discussions on match results, the party scene at the IPL and new rumors floating every now and then, the media has had a field day over the past three years at IPL.

Stakeholder 5: The viewing public

The basic business rule says that for a business to be successful, the customer has to be treated like a God. IPL presents a paradox here. The IPL viewing public has been taken for granted over these three years but they still continue to throng the stadiums and TV sets to cheer for teams.

When you go to a multiplex theatre, you pay Rs. 150, get good seats and an air conditioned theatre to sit and relax while watching a movie. Compare this with what you get when you go to watch an IPL match. You have to spend at least double than what you pay at a theatre, have to wade your way through the security to gain entry, get a side on view of the match, have bad seats to content with and use pathetic washrooms. All of the problems cited may not be accredited to IPL alone but that’s the value for his money that a paying fan gets.

On the face of it, there seems to be widespread money laundering and tax evasion involved in IPL. All that money is public money. To add to it, we have the match fixing allegations in circulation. If any of it is true, who pays for cheating the cricket buff who invests not just money but also his sweat (April is indeed sweaty in India!) to watch a match.

There is law that talks about balance of nature. When someone gains, somebody else has to lose. Sadly, it seems that in the IPL, it’s the viewing public that has to lose the most.


FromSpace said...

This again shows how corrupt Indians are. Still there is time to invite Britisher and give them the rein of this mass of land ( country and nations are not suitable words for India).


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