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IPL, the job spinner

Old world cricket puritans may fume about players preferring club over country, the over-dressed players, the promotional hype or the after-match parties, but there is no doubt that the IPL has created direct and indirect job by the thousands. Shrenik Avlani reports. Sportonomics: A game changer

business Updated: May 28, 2011 02:27 IST
Shrenik Avlani

It is 11 p.m. at night. Abdul Mahfooz Khan of Orient Event Support is busy monitoring a team of seven young men stretching a 20-by-70-foot Mumbai Indians banner at the Wankhede Stadium.

It is late and there is a lot of hard work. But no one is complaining. There is welcome money for Khan and his boys, who might have been twiddling their thumbs at Lokhandwala were it not for the Indian Premier League's (IPL) game the following afternoon.

Turn the focus now to Madhav and Nagesh, who were among the 120 people hired for temporary jobs as waiters by the Blue Sea Café as guests lolled at the corporate hospitality box at the Wankhede Stadium during a Mumbai Indians game. When the season gets over, he would have to look afresh for work, Madhav said.

Old world cricket puritans may fume about players preferring club over country, the over-dressed players, the promotional hype or the after-match parties, but there is no doubt that the IPL has created direct and indirect job by the thousands.

There are people at work on ticketing, logistics, food, security, merchandising and official uniforms.

Firms such as event manager DNA Networks, online booking site Bookmyshow.com and small units like Cool Maal (merchandising) and Uniform Solutions (clothes supplier) thrive in the shadow of the Twenty20 tournament in its fourth year now.

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This year, Bangalore-based DNA, usually known for bringing rock music acts to India, is handling accreditation services for the whole IPL and also managing a wide range of operations for five IPL franchises, including Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders. It also managed player auctions this year.

"A IPL game is a complex operation that needs hundreds of people to put in several hours. We do everything from setting up the light and sound systems to designing and decorating the stadium for the franchises. All the entertainment, DJs (disc jockeys), everything," DNA Networks founder T Venkat Vardhan told HT.

DNA alone is engaging 1,600 people across five venues this summer. Vardhan said both the budgets and profit margins were higher for IPL, with an estimated expenditure of Rs 100 crore on stadiums - not counting management and execution fees.

Ashish Hemrajani, CEO of bookmyshow, told HT that his firm earlier used to get 95% of its revenues from movie tickets and the rest from performing arts. Now, 25% of revenues come from IPL alone. Profit margins are higher than those for movies, he added. "There is no comparison between IPL and movie tickets."

Hemarajani's company handled the entire ticketing exercise for Mumbai Indians and employed more than 400 people including ushers on match days.

Uniform Solutions makes more than 15 products including shirts, T-shirts, blazers and caps for IPL.

"About 600 tailors work day and night during the IPL months. If you count those indirectly involved in our IPL orders, it's over 1,000," said its business development manager Tilak Goenka.

A worker on an average earns Rs 12,000 per month usually and that goes up to Rs 16,000 to 18,000 during IPL.

Actor Dino Morea's company, Cool Maal, is the merchandise partner for Chennai Super Kings this year.

"IPL is a great opportunity. We get a lot of exposure. We are looking at working with the other teams from south, which means creating more jobs," the model-actor-entrepreneur said.

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