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IPL is the Bluest Ocean Around

Ramesh Jude Thomas
President & CKO,
EQUiTOR Management Consulting Pvt Ltd.

Last week an old colleague of mine who runs Interbrand Australia mailed in for a ringside sense of the IPL phenomenon. And that’s exactly what it is. As much as we all have issues with the way cricket is run in this country, one has to admire the sheer audacity of the idea and indeed the way it has been executed and administered so far.
My mind went back instantly to a Blue Ocean session at INSEAD where I had used Kerry Packer as an outstanding example of breaking market boundaries. What IPL has managed is to successfully do a Packer on the “traditional” one day format. I can’t think of a better example of classic Blue Ocean than IPL.
1. Like Packer, IPL demonstrated brilliant business thinking which extended far beyond cricket. IPL is actually a new entertainment medium in this country. It competes seriously with Bollywood. And if ever proof was required here it is: some multiplexes have already decided to screen the IPL matches instead of the scheduled movies on the match dates
2. Like the Low Cost Carrier or I-tunes, it has successfully brought in new customer segments into the market. Housewives, old in-laws and young kids are prepared to give up F1, dinner or video games during matches.
3. Its most laudable achievement is that it has finally monetized the dominating share of mind the game has always enjoyed amongst 1.5 billion people across 8 countries. It was a shame that with the fan following it had, cricket as a legitimate commercial activity has always remained a fraction of the value of tennis, FI or even golf.
4. The most telling evidence of its reach and power is the attention it has received from the politicians. IPL shifted to SA only because the politicians tried to bully them out of the original schedule which clashed squarely with the general elections. In fact South Africa is a great blessing because the 4 hour time difference will now allow Indians to return from work and watch entire matches.
Any organisation can take a leaf out of Lalit Modi’s business leadership book: for sensing big opportunity, outstanding execution and smart conflict management.


Dr.RAM said...

IPL – what is Indian in it..!!! Indian Premier League has just foreign coach (except mumbai indians), next the venue(South Africa) and now slowly changing the captains. BCCI is playing in to hands of the franchise owners. Recession and global meltdown has struck every one, adding fuel to fire, now IPL shifted to South Africa - ask the advertisement companies and those sponsors to know how much they have lost on this episode of IPL. Let us forget about the viewers, coz our preference and sentiments are not important for BCCI.Now, with the cancellation of the IPL tournament in India and its move to South Africa, what message has gotten sent out? It is a battle of EGO's..

Shantakumar said...

i agree that the IPL is a great piece of entertainment engineering: to take the only game in India, in the new digestible form, enact it in a time zone that allows families to attend, and to allow for local and parochial fanaticism to build, and to make huge monies with this is hugely laudable.
is it new, is it original, is it true innovation? that is a different question. welcome ladies and gentelemn to the cricket version of the EPL, the NBA, the World series.
as for the movement to SA, i am surprised that that you think that elections should take second place to a game.
and as for politics, the BCCI would put our parliament to shame anyway!

Panneerselvam said...

True, IPL has managed to bring in newer segments to watch cricket...but what it has done more effectively or rather the T2O format itself has done..is that it has understood the growing sense of instant gratification among today's audience seeking quick results... no doubt it has become a money making machine for BCCI but it has to some extent has begun to rally public behind thier cities.. hopefully this will be a beginning in reinstating the pride each of these cities carry.. though they need to piggy back on IPL.. For the moment its a great entertainment package fully loaded on CASH... a small worry though is that most of its going to be spent abroad this year...not a good news for the business but to those petty traders who could have made a living by selling water & chips outside the stadia..!!

Antony said...

IPL - Its better late than never. What surprised me though is why such a powerful sport (because it is played in India and commonwealth countries) had to wait for so long to get to this profitable format.

while it is important to laud the efforts that are seen today, it would serve us well to know why we didnt see it earlier.

Cricket has long been a great tool but fanatically controlled by a select few, most of whom have never played the game! While not much has changed even today, it is indeed heartening to see somewhere few windows have opened and the base has broadened. It certainly does a world of good, for the viewers and for the players.

We in India have given the game and its players an almost religious respect. We dont grudge their success or their bank balances. I really dont care how much more Dhoni or Harbhajan makes out of it. But IPL has opened doors for the guys whose only mistake is being born in Bangladesh or Zimbabwe or even from a sleepy old place in Newzealand. These guys have the skill but earn in thier lifetime what one of our illustrious cricketers earn in a day! So IPL is good.

Cricket has also taken its own sweet time to realise that the world no longer has the time and luxury to sip a coffee, read the papers and stretch in the mornings as depicted in the beautiful world of PG Wodehouse. It has long been the world of 2 minute noodles, instant coffee and fast food. So T20 or IPL or whatever was long due and finally arrived. The fact that it is from the most powerful cricket playing nation, means much. So IPL is good.

Cricket for long as been the placid lake where the last little ripple happened 30 plus years ago. Now with the T20 the waves have come crashing and the IPL has made it a lot exciting making this placid waterbody into a most exciting beach where there is something for the surfers and the suntanners. So IPL is good.

I dont know what the next round of innovation would be but i believe that we dont need to wait another 30 years for it.

MandeepK said...

IPL moving to SA is quite innovative and reflecting great business sense n unconventional thinking...however this no longer looks like an initiative bringing pride to India rather the whole gamut appears to be a strong case of turning it into a corporate for ascertaining returns to BCCI and stakeholders. I may be sounding like an emotional patriot, well have still a long way to go till we are able to create euphoria like soccer n football leagues in west.

guru said...

Guru Prasad:
The other intangibles i see is, sudden spurt of travel, teams like King fisher really benefit. Cost of doing IPL abroad is much lesser than doing it in a complex environment [considering size, security, number of people, service levels in India], IPL in SA in a good move for profitability. It is not a battle of ego's, it is a message, the way the world would stand up to right.

Bpaps said...

IPL in South Africa to me was akin to the Outsourcing deals struck in IT & BPO sectors: with UK & SA being evaluated in multiple respects with a fairly open process & quick decision taken. In terms of leadership, while granting the dynamism of IPL management in saving the tournament, must say that actually watching Kamran being grromed by Shane Warne was a treat! How Warny genially applauds every move without showing any anger (like the missed runout chance that he created towards the end of the match with KKR on Thursday the 23rd is truly an online lesson in confidence building & motivation across cultures. The same Kamran was really jittery when he had the mike in his right hand for the interview post match, but showed no nerves on the field. Absolute high in the display of teamwork & leadership capped in the Super Over by Kamran & Yousuf Pathan

Frankie said...

In the ongoing battle for mindspace from different categories of entertainment,this variety of fast food cricket seems to be getting a gaint bite.
It is true that cricket is a religion for an indian,whether he is resident or nonresident!!