The Tribune - Spectrum

, February 9, 2003
Lead Article

Commerce and the Cup

 Saurav Ganguly
Saurav Ganguly

THE 2003 World Cup is not as big as it might appear if you were living in India. There are only 12 sponsors, four of them majors, one of which is South African Airways (SAA), a decidedly minor airlines whose Indian operations only run between Mumbai and South Africa.

The three other main sponsors are Pepsi, the multinational cola drink, Hero Honda, the world's ‘largest’ two-wheeler company, and LG, the electronics and consumer goods company from Korea. All four major sponsors have put in upwards of $22 million each.

Even though the three major sponsors with interest in India have indulged in heavy advertising, it hasn't caused a clutter. The buzz is because of large number of companies running schemes and contests, offering prizes, including tickets to the World Cup. Such contests are being run heavily on television. There are hoardings in all major cities and advertisements in newspapers. This has, however, nothing to do with the number of sponsors.

The official World Cup suppliers range from official publications to catering suppliers. TBWA Hunt Lascaris and Inroads (Pty) Ltd are the official advertising agencies.

Four South African publishing companies have joined forces to form the publications consortium for the 2003 World Cup.

They will produce all the official publications, ranging from match programmes to the glossy tournament brochure along with visitors guides and tourist information booklets.

Then, the competing teams, umpires, referees and VIPs, will use Southern Sun Hotels, while Afrox Healthcare and Netcare 911 will cover all medical contingencies at match venues in South Africa. Rennies Travel and Connex Travel will handle all South African travel arrangements for players, umpires, referees and VIPs.

The South African have got Bellingham to supply the wine in the VIP areas at the grounds and at all official functions. Local sponsors include SA Breweries, Standard Bank, MTN, Toyota and Dimension Data. International tour operator Edusport Gullinjet Travel is handling all the inbound travel for overseas visitors.

Global Cricket Corporation (GCC) has signed for $550 million for a seven-year deal, which includes the commercial rights for the 2003 and 2007 Cricket World Cups. For the 2003 World Cup, it is spending about $250 million for television, Internet and sponsorship rights. The International Cricket Council (ICC) will spend only 20 per cent of the $550 million back to the cricket playing countries-it means it could rake in revenue in excess of $100 million from the sponsorship deal for itself.


As for the prize money, the winning team gets $2.2 million, from a total prize fund of $5 million.

It is clear massive sums are riding on the prospect of India doing well in World Cup. Nearly 500 million of the 510 million projected audience for the World Cup belongs to India. It explains why 85 per cent of the sponsorship money is flowing out of coffers of Indian companies.

The organisers want India to do well. If India don't make it to the Super Six stage, the TV audience for the World Cup will diminish. It will make the sponsors unhappy and, in turn, the cricket authorities.

The South Africans know this is a great opportunity to make money. After the marketing agents take their share, 50 per cent of the profit goes to the hosts, 25 per cent to the ICC and the remaining 25 per cent to the participating nations.

The South African organisers, after the initial enthusiasm, do not expect to make huge profit from the event. The organisers are expecting a figure of around $19.5 million-the same England raked in during the 1999 World Cup.

Dr Ali Bacher, chief executive of the World Cup, said expenditure had doubled to almost $2.5 million. More than $1.2 million has been spent on upgrading venues, scoreboards, public address systems and a new bar-coded ticketing system.

Apart from improving media facilities, the South Africans are also putting in a new drainage and irrigation system at various venues and programmable automatic pop-up sprinkler systems.

South Africa's net profit is to be split equally into 13 parts between the United Cricket Board (UCB), their 11 provincial affiliates and the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU), who host six Pool A matches. Kenya, who stage two games, were given $30,000 towards organisational costs.

The ICC is still to decide the hosting fee to South Africa (because of the constantly emerging political and players issues), participation fees to competing teams and money to non-participating ICC members. South Africa, as host, is not eligible for participation fee.

To date, $8 million in tickets have been sold for games scheduled in South Africa. Although all the staging centres can expect to receive around $1.5 million, the profits will diminish because of extra security measures.

The Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) will not only partake the profit share ($1.4 million) but also claim fee as a competing nation which should be substantially more than the $400,000 of four years ago.

Coming back to the Indian scene, the players' contract issue remains messy. It is said with Indian players digging in their heels, ICC could lose up to $400 million-a case of imperialism in reverse. If it was East India Company who exploited India till a century ago, the Indians were getting their even on the cricket field!

There is a great deal of speculation on how much an Indian cricketer would make from the 2003 World Cup.

Except for a few, the rest would not make a huge cut.

A Javagal Srinath can expect, at the most, between Rs 20 and Rs 30 lakh to come his way. The case could be different for the likes of Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag. They could be making upwards of a couple of crores. The case of Sachin Tendulkar, in a league of his own, could be different.

Top stars earn enough to have BMWs, Mercedes and even a glittering Ferrari in their garages. But there is not much in the game for the likes of V. V. S. Laxman and Anil Kumble—Indian cricket's biggest record breakers who have produced the highest individual knock and claimed 10 wickets in an innings. Their income is still largely derived from the match fee.