For the first time since the Indian economy liberalized in 1991, India won the World Cup in cricket, the game that is India’s passion. By beating Sri Lanka in a thrilling finish at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium, India won the trophy in a moment of joy for the entire country on Saturday. People of Indian origin worldwide celebrated as one. Politicians at every level from President Pratibha Patel to Congress Party leader Sonia Gandhi were seen celebrating as were Bollywood celebrities from actor Amitabh Bachchan to singer Lata Mangeshkar.
The money in cricket has changed dramatically since 1983, the last time India won the championship, then held at the Lord’s field in the United Kingdom. According to the Hindustan Times, “In 1983 out of the total prize money of about Rs 46 lakh (£66,200), captain Kapil Dev’s team pocketed Rs 14 lakh (£20,000). On Saturday, current captain MS Dhoni’s team got a payment 60 times larger, of about Rs 8.5 crore ($1.9 million). The tournament’s total prize money was Rs 27 crore ($6 million).”
But that is not all. India’s central government is actively considering a proposal by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to waive all income tax on direct and indirect winnings from the trophy. A retinue of additional monetary and non-monetary awards await the players, the team, the coach, the organizers and more, see story here.
The real money for the stars of the game is in advertising endorsements. For example Captain Dhoni earns $1.5 million per year per endorsement and currently endorses almost 20 brands including Sony, Pepsi, Reebok and Big Bazaar. His price is expected to double next week.
“With the World Cup win, there is a huge emotional connect at this moment with cricket,” says Subhinder Singh Prem, managing director, Reebok India, the official sponsor of the World Cup according to the Daily Mint. “As a sports brand, we definitely want to ride the wave, do interesting things and engage with consumers.” Rebook India’s latest campaign for ZigTech shoes features Indian cricketers Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh.
Of course what is driving this money is large television audiences. An incredible Sixty-four per cent of cable and satellite homes in India were watching the final game of Word Cup Cricket. The game was on for an average of four hours in every household. Ratings peaked towards the end of the match when India held the World Cup. The match got 13.7 television rating points (TVRs), the highest for any event so far. When the winning moment arrived, the ratings peaked, touching a massive 21.44.
Takeaway: Cricket’s impact on India exceeds sports and advertising and pervades every aspect of urban life in India.
Footnote: While the World Cup is over and teams from 14 countries have returned home, Indians a re only taking one week off from cricket. The Indian Premier League which pits local professional teams against one another begins April 8. Bring out the cheerleaders!
April 4, 2011 No Comments
The Bofors Arms Purchase scandal began 20 years ago but seldom does a month go by when some new item relating to it does not appear in the news.
Now India’s income tax department says that over $9 million in kickbacks were paid to Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi and an Indian arms dealer, Win Chadha, since deceased.
Sweden’s AB Bofors (now part of BAE) was alleged to have paid $1.3 billion in bribes during the sale of 400 howitzers to India in 1986, when Rajiv Gandhi, (the late husband of Italian born Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi) was prime minister.
January 17, 2011 No Comments
The latest version of the 100 most powerful women in the world according to Forbes Magazine is published. Indian-American Indra Nooyi ranks sixth on the list which is quite creditable. But somehow the magazine neglected to rank Sonia Gandhi, the Italian-born president of India’s ruling Indian National Congress party. This is absurd. They also did not rank India’s President Pratibha Patil. While the President is a ceremonial post in India, Patil is clearly wields more influence than at least 25 women on the list.
Two Indian bankers are on the list, but ranked in the wrong order and too far down. India’s second largest bank is run by Chanda Kocchar of ICICI and she is ranked #92. But she is running her bank better than most US bank leaders today! Ranked ahead of her at #89 is Shikha Sharma, head of Axis Bank.
I can probably think up another four to six women who are more powerful than many of the Forbes 100 list. But let me stop here.
October 8, 2010 No Comments
This week, Infosys co-founder and billionaire Nandan Nilekani stood watch as the first step of the “Unique Identification Authority of India” database of every Indian citizen took its first step to reality in the field. Nilekani retired from Infosys to take on this role last year and the position has the rank of a Cabinet Minister.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress party leader Sonia Gandhi traveled to village of Tembhili (population 1,500) in Nandurbar district of western Maharashtra state and handed ID numbers to 10 people, including three children. Using including an iris scans, finderprints and other biometric methods, the system will log details of India’s population of 1.2 billion people into a central database. Every Indian will be issued a 12-digit ID number which they will use to receive welfare handouts, to apply for other documents like passports and even to open bank accounts. The whole process may take another four years.
India hopes that this will prevent corrupt officials from faking the names of people seeking welfare benefits or access to education – potentially saving billions of dollars. Corruption continues to be a significant problem in India and poor, rural citizens are often denied the benefits budgeted for them, such as the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, which promises 100 days of work to any Indian.
September 29, 2010 No Comments