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India wins World Cup Cricket after 28 years; Economic Bonanza follows

India wins World Cup Cricket after 28 years; Economic Bonanza follows

For the first time since the Indian economy liberalized in 1991, India won the World Cup in cricket, the game that is India’s passion. By beating Sri Lanka in a thrilling finish at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium, India won the trophy in a moment of joy for the entire country on Saturday. People of Indian origin worldwide celebrated as one. Politicians at every level from President Pratibha Patel to Congress Party leader Sonia Gandhi were seen celebrating as were Bollywood celebrities from actor Amitabh Bachchan to singer Lata Mangeshkar.

The money in cricket has changed dramatically since 1983, the last time India won the championship, then held at the Lord’s field in the United Kingdom. According to the Hindustan Times, “In 1983 out of the total prize money of about Rs 46 lakh (£66,200), captain Kapil Dev’s team pocketed Rs 14 lakh (£20,000). On Saturday, current captain MS Dhoni’s team got a payment 60 times larger, of about Rs 8.5 crore ($1.9 million). The tournament’s total prize money was Rs 27 crore ($6 million).”

But that is not all. India’s central government is actively considering a proposal by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to waive all income tax on direct and indirect winnings from the trophy. A retinue of additional monetary and non-monetary awards await the players, the team, the coach, the organizers and more, see story here.

The real money for the stars of the game is in advertising endorsements. For example Captain Dhoni earns $1.5 million per year per endorsement and currently endorses almost 20 brands including Sony, Pepsi, Reebok and Big Bazaar. His price is expected to double next week.

“With the World Cup win, there is a huge emotional connect at this moment with cricket,” says Subhinder Singh Prem, managing director, Reebok India, the official sponsor of the World Cup according to  the Daily Mint. “As a sports brand, we definitely want to ride the wave, do interesting things and engage with consumers.” Rebook India’s latest campaign for ZigTech shoes features Indian cricketers Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh.

Of course what is driving this money is large television audiences. An incredible  Sixty-four per cent of cable and satellite homes in India were watching the final game of Word Cup Cricket. The  game was on for an average of four hours in every household. Ratings peaked towards the end of the match when India held the World Cup. The match got 13.7 television rating points (TVRs), the highest for any event so far. When the winning moment arrived, the ratings peaked, touching a massive 21.44.

Takeaway: Cricket’s impact on India exceeds sports and advertising and pervades every aspect of urban life in India.

Footnote: While the World Cup is over and teams from 14 countries have returned home, Indians a re only taking one week off from cricket. The Indian Premier League which pits local professional teams against one another begins April 8. Bring out the cheerleaders!

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