Sports merchandising isn't commonplace in India and the IPL is probably the first opportunity for entrepreneurs to explore this option, which is a major source of revenue for happening sports abroad, football, basketball and baseball being a few examples. Cricket-related products are visible too, in South Africa or Australia.
The problem most of the IPL teams — all of whom have contracts with some company or the other — are facing is fake products. From jerseys to flags to bandanas, everything is available for far less than what the authentic ones come for. Delhi and Jaipur are the only venues to have restricted this, but these fake items are doing brisk business elsewhere.
While the real jerseys come for anything between Rs 800 to 3000, the duplicate ones cost Rs 80 to 350 depending on quality and bargaining and fans have swarmed the stands in them. Authorities are unsure about how to curb this and have accepted that nothing can be done as far this season is concerned. “In order to have a system in place we have to activate several agencies like the respective franchises, host associations and the local police,” Saum Srivastava, managing director of Yog Sports which is the official merchandise distributor of the IPL, told HT. His company has struck a five-year deal with the IPL starting this year.
There is another angle to the story too. For example, the Kolkata Knight Riders don't treat it as a problem. “We do incur a loss because we get a percentage of the sales,” a team official said. “At the same time, we want to see fans pack the stands sporting our colours.”
Most other teams have not paid much attention to this and don't seem to know how to put in place a system to detect fake products and stop spectators from entering the stadiums in them.
The obvious beneficiaries are those making and selling them. The IPL has something for everyone after all.