Tradition intact, modernity in tune at Mecca of cricket | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Tradition intact, modernity in tune at Mecca of cricket

Mahendra Singh Dhoni is valued at a mammoth Rs 210 crores and Sachin Tendulkar's commercial worth has plenty of zeroes as well.

cricket Updated: Jul 25, 2010 23:52 IST
Amrit Mathur

Mahendra Singh Dhoni is valued at a mammoth Rs 210 crores and Sachin Tendulkar's commercial worth has plenty of zeroes as well.

The only durable brand in cricket however is Lord's. The business of sports is about creating and sustaining brands. Cricket though does not have marketable clubs and the IPL teams have just about started their journey down this road.

Lord's has been an icon in cricket for long and has built a strong commercial brand by leveraging its non-commercial side. As home to the sport for more than 200 years, it has an abundance of history and an aura that is unmistakeable.

Players feel a sense of respect -major stands are named after past greats- and more recent stars would definitely approve Brian Lara's statement that he would turn up in whites at Lord's whenever required.

The reason Lord's remains special is because tradition is absolutely sacred here. Membership to the stadium is difficult and compliance with club regulations is strictly enforced.

Members and guests in the Pavilion have to observe a dress code that mandates wearing a tie, jacket, "appropriate shoes and acceptable long trousers."

Even in the general stands, mobile phones are not allowed while spectators in shabby casuals are denied entry. The tradition here though is not averse to change and has lately made grudging yet strategic concessions to modernity.

During matches for instance, children are allowed onto the field even though earlier the playing area was completely out of bounds. The same desire to remain in tune with contemporary times is reflected in MCC's (Marylebone Cricket Club) recent alliance with Abu Dhabi that includes player exchange and conducting matches.

Lords has been on the ball through these and a host of other measures, in its efforts to increase its brand image through its unique position. Tactical awareness about commercial opportunities of modern day sport is visible in the wide range of merchandise available that has branded clothing for toddlers and paper weights with tufts of grass from the outfield at 60 £ a piece!