By : Nitin P Gadkari
Tomorrow , the ICC World Cup would be claimed and go into history. There will be a vacuum in the afternoons and evenings. So much has been written about India and the cricket team’s performance. This piece is a light-hearted one away from cricket, concentrating on the outside. I hope the readers find some resonance.
The curtains will fall on the ICC World Cup 2023 tomorrow. This Sunday, 19 Nov 2023, at Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium, the two best teams in the competition clash for the world champion title. India has come into the finals without losing a match with ten wins on the trot. And Australia resurged after initial shock defeats to India and South Africa, getting to the finals with eight wins on the trot. Both countries are fanatics as far as cricket is concerned, and it should be a mouth-watering contest. Would it matter who wins? Having come this far, I don’t think it matters, and here is why.
The current World Cup has been a humongous success, with packed stadiums for matches which did not feature the home country. Bigger venues and loads of advertisements on the TV and ground filled up the BCCI coffers like never before. As per some sources, BCCI will earn 2.6 Billion dollars US from this extravaganza. In Indian currency(INR), it amounts to 22,000 crore INR. The maximum of this chunk will come from the TV rights of 12000 crore in INR. The revenue is comparable to the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar, which reaped 7.5 billion dollars US. It had the participation of 32 countries, as against ten countries in ICC World Cup 2023. With so much money earnings, a Win or Loss would feel like a positive ‘Winner’s Curse’. The sponsors would be happy sipping their champagne for every seat in the one lakh plus Narendra Modi stadium has been taken. I can’t imagine the black-market rate of a ticket for the Final match. In Mumbai, it is rumoured that a 2k ticket went for around 23k in the semifinal match. The two most expected teams have reached the finals. Australia coming to the party is a blessing in disguise. For them, what mattered was India. The money would flow in hoards for the sponsors and the BCCI if India reached the finals.
Money from the ticket sales garners the third highest revenue at a mere 2000 Crores. Most ticket revenues come from corporate boxes, which are pre-booked at the highest price. Money from individual tickets is minimal. Their share is like the share of the revenue from tickets of the second class, sold by Railways for the Mumbai locals. It doesn’t even cover the cost of cleaning the trains. Most high-value seats are given as free bees to the who-s-who of the city. All the best seats are reserved for complimentary passes. The second highest revenue to the government comes from the screenings, winning and dining in theatres, restaurants and bars when the matches are on. This revenue amounts to 5000 crores in INR.
If one were observant, one would notice that most of the matches played by the host country were on a Sunday. The host country played five games on a Sunday. The oppositions were Australia, New Zealand, England, South Africa and the Netherlands. Only the Netherlands was a Minnows team; the rest were potential World Cup winners. One can only imagine the scenes in the restaurants and bars on all these Sundays, and on all of these Sundays, India went on to win the matches. The furiosity of the shouting and cheering could only be matched by the furiosity of the sales of F&B. The clash of Titans match between India and Pakistan was scheduled on 14 Oct 2023, a Saturday. And the final game is on a Sunday. As the dream story was about to end, someone shouted; imagine all of it in the thick of the festival season of Navaratri and Diwali in India. It would have been a mouth-watering prospect at the planning stage and a profoundly satisfying thought on its completion. The ICC one-day World Cup has returned to India after 12 years and with a bang.
The first semifinals in Mumbai was how the doctor ordered. India batting first and getting near 400, with Virat scoring his 50th ton. The glam quotient of international celebrities, David Beckham and Viv Richards, to name a few, combined with the desi power of Bollywood meant a packed house at Wankhade and top viewership on Star-Sports TV and online on Hotstar. One day alone would have made up for a fortnight post-pandemic. The World Cup has been a bonanza for the Indian economy. Realising the potential, many multinationals have joined in, too. Amongst the 26 Official sponsors are a host of multinationals: Emirates Airlines, Nissan, Coca-Cola, Google, etc. The revenues will likely be 46% more this time than the last World Cup. With so much riding on the successful conduct of the event, who wins or who Loses was never on the minds of the organisers.
Talking a little bit about cricket proper. A purist would know that a one-day 50-over encounter can depend heavily upon the luck of winning or losing the toss, the wicket, and the dew at the venue. South Africa dug their grave by winning the toss. Sometimes, it is good to lose the toss, as Pat Cummins would have realised. ‘Saved by the Coin’ is the new normal for cricket. He, too, would have batted had Australia won the match. God knows what would have happened then. The finals could go either way. Like I wrote earlier, does it matter? No, it does not. India has already gained more than expected from the proceedings of the ICC World Cup 2023 till now. If India wins, it would be an icing on the cake. Let us wish: ‘May the Best Team Win’. But then we know which is the best team. So sit back and enjoy on 19th Novenber’23.
Courtesy: Article extracted from Faugy Strategy written by Nitin P Gadkari