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Showing posts from April, 2009

No Country for old captains

IPL has really been a marketing case study.

Hardly anyone follows Indian domestic cricket these days. IPL, with its concept of city based teams, was a brave venture. Especially after the ICL floundered. So the IPL built teams around 'icons' who were the stars of Indian cricket - Sachin, Ganguly, Dhoni, Dravid, Sehwag, Yuvraj and Laxman. Each had been captains or at least vice captains of India.

What was glossed over was that a number of these icons were nearing retirement. Not the ideal state to be in for this high adrenalin version of cricket. The purpose of the organisers were served with advertising building regional identities and teams positioned across brand ambassadors.

Kotler would have approved - demographic segmentation, brand identity - no business school grad could have scripted this better.

There was a slight hitch. A number of the icons didn't perform in the first version. Sachin didn't play through most of IPL one thanks to an injury. Dravid and Laxman flou…

Taj Mahal...South Africa's latest attraction

IPL 2 started today.

Two matches. Razzmatazz. An opening ceremony with Zulu dancers. Everyone going gaga over the logistics at South Africa.

To start with a change of scene on telly from Manmohan Singh and Advani expressing their hurt with each other and animated TV panelists dissecting this.

But IPL 2 has been a hot potato so far. Political differences, impatience, inflated egos, the lure of lucre led to its shifting across the hemisphere. Doesn't matter that India, in the process, got clubbed with Pakistan as a place where it is unsafe to play cricket.

Soon after this happened some country refused to come to India to play the Davis Cup! Close to thirteen people come to watch a Davis Cup match in comparison to cricket. But we have layed ourselves bare to potshots from across.

Hopefully the matches will be closer than what we saw on day one.

Matches in South Africa. Captained by foreigners. Coached by foreigners. Wouldn't 'International' be a better word for the I in IPL?