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India, the bright spot in dark of world economy

If there is one industry that seems to be bucking the economic slowdown, it is cricket. Recession or not, everyone connected with the Indian Premier League (IPL) is laughing their way to the bank — or hopes to, at least. On Tuesday, IPL commissioner Lalit Modi said the guaranteed contracted revenue so far had seen a Rs 1,725 crore increase from what had been initially expected. Arjun Sen reports.Unstoppable IPL

india Updated: Mar 11, 2009 01:54 IST
Arjun Sen

If there is one industry that seems to be bucking the economic slowdown, it is cricket. Recession or not, everyone connected with the Indian Premier League (IPL) is laughing their way to the bank — or hopes to, at least.

<b1>On Tuesday, IPL commissioner Lalit Modi said the guaranteed contracted revenue so far had seen a Rs 1,725 crore increase from what had been initially expected. Also, the eight franchisees have seen a sharp increase in their valuation. The team valuations have witnessed a 3,700 per cent jump, said Modi, something unheard of in any sector in a one-year period.

The IPL believes it will be rocking this season too.

“First, everyone said the IPL was done for because of the recession,” said tournament director Dhiraj Malhotra. “Then, it was the clash with the election dates. Everyone wrote off any chance of the tournament going ahead. But we worked around all the problems and proved that the IPL is, was and will be a profitable proposition for everyone associated with it.”

He said every franchisee stood to make more money than last year and the future would be even rosier. It will have to be. For the team owners, the IPL, for all its glitz, is a business venture, one they hope will pay off over the next few years.

But why are people putting money into the IPL in times like these? “I think the logic is rather simple,” Kolkata Knight Riders CEO Joy Bhattacharya told Hindustan Times. “In times like these, people want to be associated with something that is going to guarantee returns, and the IPL is one such venture. The IPL will always be a smart business venture for everyone associated, and we are just seeing that boom in its nascency.”

A Delhi Daredevils official agreed. “It’s the age of non-traditional methods of generating revenue. We’ve to look beyond the usual shirt sponsorship deals, etc. We’ve to build our brand, we’ve to connect with people through every possible medium.” “Brand building is the way forward,” he said — and the IPL gives them that.