Cricket, very much like anything in the world is a business. There are owners, managers, employees, and obviously money involved in cricket. It must be noted that globalization and the advertising revolution has affected cricket like any other industry. Earlier, there were trade restrictions; advertising techniques were underdeveloped; there was nothing such as an online presence; capitalist states did not allow the private ownership of assets and obviously the level of cricket was not good enough to make it a cash-rich business.
Lot has changed in the last few decades. The most important part of this revolution has to be the broadcasting of the game. When the world series cricket brought colored uniforms, sport under light, tie-ups with major companies around the world, and commentators like Richie Benaud to the fore, cricket broadcast changed forever. Nowadays, several channels bid for the TV rights of cricket in a particular country. The highest bidder obtains the rights for a specific period of time and pays an agreed annual sum to the cricket organizing board of that country. This broadcasting revenue generated through people watching cricket on TV and on apps like Hotstar is essentially the life and blood of the business of cricket.
As mentioned earlier, the opening up of economies and globalization have made the global economies interconnected. This allowed many companies to associate themselves with cricket. They act as title sponsors, kit sponsors, travel sponsors, banking sponsors, and earn a hefty amount. Since cricket is now a highly regarded sport, association with cricket helps the reputation and operations of these companies a great deal. Oppo and PayTm are prime examples of this.
In cricketing boards and the ICC, business is run in a conventional fashion but unlike in corporate bodies, the posts are filled on the basis of democratic elections, prior experience of playing cricket, and promotions. BCCI’s president is elected in such a fashion. However, there are other professional posts such as statisticians, performance analysts who are hired purely on the basis of education, skill, and experience as any other company would do. Lastly, these cricket organizing bodies have a chain of management like any other company. There are selectors, coaching staff, advisory committees. They have different roles and paid accordingly. There are several stakeholders who may not directly affect the working of these bodies but are associated with the boards. Commentators are a prime example of this.
The domain where business activities are carried out in a true sense is the franchise business. Let’s take an example from the IPL. The team is like a company and every team has owners, CEOs, COOs, and CFOs. The goal of a private company is to make a profit; the goal of this team is to win the tournament. For making a profit or to win the IPL, the team buys the best players and best coaches. In the backdrop of hiring these people, a lot of discussions, data analytics, financial and mathematical modeling happen. This is similar to the basic decision-making process of a company. The coaches could be compared with the managers and the players with employees. Most importantly, since its business, you have to deliver. No matter how big a cricketer you are, you have to perform to retain your place. Business is driven by ideas and performance and not by emotions and reputation.
Lastly, there are occasions where cricket affects other businesses as they are dependent on cricket, for example, there are media agencies that cover matches and carry out interviews. Many platforms and studious presenting live pre-match and post-match shows with a panel of experts depending on cricket too. In fact, cricket gear selling companies and cricket academies are dealing with cricket in one way or the other.
Therefore, businesses are the driving force for economies around the world, and cricket plays a crucial role in driving major economies by contributing millions and billions of dollars to them.