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Cricketainment will drive the cricket industry - MTI CEO

In the first two years of the IPL, MTI Consulting along with UK's intangible business carried out the valuation of the IPL Franchises. Last year, MTI conceptualised, researched and developed the 11C Model for the management of cricket as an industry.

With the IPL in its 5th successful year in progress, MTI's CEO Hilmy Cader was recently interviewed by MTI's Regional Intelligence Hub.

Here are excerpts of the interview:

Q: Is Cricket a sport, a business or an industry?

MTI: Cricket, like a lot of sports started as an amateur sport (with part-time players), then became a professional sport (with people playing it for a living) and has now transitioned into a multi-billion dollar, multi-faceted industry

Q: What do you really mean by Cricketainment?

MTI: It is the convergence of the sport (Cricket in this case) with entertainment. In other words, it competes with other forms of entertainment. For example, a consumer has choice of watching the IPL or a movie. Along the same lines, Cricketainment is competing for the advertising dollar as well.

Q: There is a general feeling among the public that there is too much cricket? Your views?

MTI: That decision should be influenced by the 'consumer' of cricket, not by armchair experts of the game. If there is large enough 'consumption' of cricket on television, it will attract sponsors and advertisers. That and only that will ensure the commercial viability of the game

Q: Cricket experts believe that cricketers are playing too much cricket, therefore too tired and stressed out, hence the poor performance. How would you analyse this from a management perspective?

MTI: If you accept the concept of 'Cricketainment', then we as 'consumers' pay the cricketers (through patronising the sponsors and advertisers) to 'entertain' us. Unlike in other forms of entrainment, we allow the same set of 'actors' (I mean cricketers) to perform in all formats of the game, in all tournaments and right through the year.

This is where the problem lies. We are soon moving towards a situation of having different 'Cricket-actors' for different formats of the game. For instance, Chris Gayle is very much becoming a 20-20 player. To illustrate my point, take an analogy from Bollywood. Shah Rukh Khan does not perform in all the movies, there is also Salman Khan and Aamir Khan!

Q: How would you respond, from a business strategy perspective, to argument that classical cricket (I mean test matches) is suffering as a result of the shorter forms of the game?

MTI: It is the consumer who decides what they wish to consume and the industry needs to respond. Look at the changes that have taken place in industries as diverse as cinema, education and banking.

These were all once considered professions and now had to transition into a business.

Of course, in all these cases, there will always be a niche for the classical formats, take the example of packed stadiums for the Ashes.

Q: There is a big debate in the industry that you must have been a cricketer to be a cricket administrator. Your ideas?

MTI: Firstly, it is about management and not administration. That mind-set needs changing. Secondly, as I said earlier it is an industry and a business. So consider the fact that some of the most successful businesses around the world are run by Business Managers and not 'Technical Experts'.

Nestle is not run by a baker, Unilever is not run by a chemist, Singapore Airlines is not run by a pilot. However, you need the technical experts to operate the business. Why should the business of cricket be any different?

Q: Some cricket experts have called the 20-20 format (IPL in particular) as 'Instant Noodles' - how would you analyse this from a business strategy perspective?

MTI: Firstly, it is the consumer's choice if they wish to consumer more 'Instant Noodles' (20/20) or the longer formats. After, all, it is the 'consumer' of cricket who funds this game. Without which any sport will be like trying attract people to visit the Museum!.

Talking of 'Instant Noodles', it is so popular in Sri Lanka, that Nestle have built a massive, state of the art plant in the country. Along the same lines, the IPL is building so many 'instant-cricket' plants in India and arguably around the world. 'Consumer Democracy' will always rule!

 

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