The Economics of a Sport like Cricket

The Cricket World Cup 2007 is on, so far, surrounded by strangeness. A team ranked 4th loses to an unranked team, their coach dies under suspicious circumstances, a murder, and a whole nexus of sporting corruption is on the radar.

The lid is open to the can of worms. That’s one side of the spectrum. The spectrum of the economics of a sport like Cricket, once called the “gentlemen’ game”. The other side of the spectrum, which confuses me a bit, is best illustrated with ads from Indian sponsors (like IndianOil, Hero Honda etc.) in the arena. I haven’t come across any other sporting event at a global level, exhibiting Indian sponsorship at this magnitude. And it makes sense, because its not “just a sport” in India, its a “game of business”, with some of the highest paid players in the sport, most earnings from television viewership, rich endorsements, the under-ground match fixing nexus (spanning from the middle-east to elsewhere), team selection scandals, the fans turning to vandalism on a single defeat … the list goes on. It’s not a sport anymore, a money-craved reality-show maybe, but not a sport as we once knew it to be.

In memory of Mr. Bob Woolmer (1948-2007).

A tragic victim of sporting economics perhaps, but he will always remain in our memories as a true legend.

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