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Overview Of Cricket Commercialization In England Media Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Media
Wordcount: 3822 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The initial phase of twentieth century was a crucial period for sports in England as it observed the commencement of the increasing transformation between the traditional domestic cricket and the commercial business of entertainment core sporting organizations (Andrews, 1999).In the current scenario sports is considered as a form of service for mainly four groups; buying team merchandise and viewer based, growth of fans- which can be gauged by the attendance levels, the stock holders and the government and finally the multi-national media companies that secure the broadcasting rights exclusively Madichie (2009) .

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The commercial revolution in Cricket in England was first seen in 1949 and then in 1965 when the country’s championships overall gate revenue decreased by 64.72% and made the sustenance of the sport challenging (Whannel, 1992).Later in the Gillette cup, held in 1963, it was seen that the title rights where rewarded to Gillette and the ATV televised the first ever, one day tournament at Leicestershire, which proved to be the ground breaking decisions MCC went ahead with to bring back the game into track.

Bryan Cowgill of BBC was praised by Whannel(1992) for thinking through a simple one-day cricket series and strategizing it , by getting Rothmans Cigarette company to sponsor the game in 1967, which fascinated a new gene of cricket fanatic audience to be drawn towards viewing live cricket. This was followed by the renowned John Player league, beginning its series although the finance continued to be on an aggressive lock during those times. Towards the end of 1980’s it was seen that a considerable ration of the TV income and annual sponsorship (£10 million) was distributed amongst the then weak economic counties to support their existence Aris (1990).

In 2009, Essex a small county recorded a £216,000 loss, while on the other hand Surrey registered £752,000 profits (Cricinfo, 2010).With respect to the above mentioned incidents we can clearly apprehend the growing passage between the bigger and smaller counties even after the vast changes that world cricket went through in its commercial dynamics in the 1980’s.The immediate need of this situation is to reduce or completely close the financial gap existing amidst the counties , in order to implement a self-sustained commercial model for each of them, making them operate in a fashion where the revenue generated from each of these can be financed back into the development of the system, making ENGLAND AND WALES CRICKET BOARD generate a solution for the problem.

Leagues Balance in competition

Leagues always operate collectively under a mechanism, ensuring there is no competition amongst the teams formed under it and are able to increase extensively their brand image and significance within their area Hamil et al (2001). To maintain equality and team balance, IPL has introduced a cap on the salaries on every player purchased at $7 million for all franchisees(TimesofIndia, 2010).An attempt has been made by the ENGLAND AND WALES CRICKET BOARD by making relevant changes in the domestic structure to produce a balance in competition at the matches. (Morley et al, 2007)However they do not have player distribution rights, but if they decide to use the central contracts, sturdier teams will be taken aback from stars crowd pulling, leading to a balance in competition. Thus we can see that IPL’s current structure will be of great benefit to ENGLAND AND WALES CRICKET BOARD in working towards a competitive and balanced tournament.

Need and Effects of Media and Broadcasting in Sports

Here we can see the birth of the arm chair sports concept, by the programming content being cheaper, the number of passionate spectators increasing by the day, growth of international sports being organised and televisions mobility leading to commoditisation of sports attracting the advertisers to a greater extent Rowe (1996) .

Sports in television have become an element of widespread culture that the current society resides in. The ideal focus of the existing economy revolves around a style that the NBC’s chairman, Dick Ebersol effectively used in the Atlanta Olympics 1996, capturing the mind’s eye of a large range of viewers, including kids and women, such as marketing, exchange, production and adapting to cultural forms Whannel (1992).

Sports attained the status of the only biggest driver in taking up of digital and cable TV globally and subscriptions to satellite with the development of pay as per view and subscriptions. In the course of 24 hours, the founder of News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch, used sports to attain interests in Channel 7, BSkyB, Foxtel, Star Tv and Fox and succeeded in reaching out to 70 countries and more and to about half a billion people (Law et al 2002).

Sports content transmission crossways in different continents helped him in striking major advertising contracts. The success of a ten year broadcasting contract by the latest IPL-World Sports Group for 1.82$ billion has achieved in getting the media-sports long term relationship to a bigger level(Cricinfo, 2009). (Cricinfo, 2010) Media predicts a £137.4 million loss for ENGLAND AND WALES CRICKET BOARD between the years 2014 to 2017, considering the probabilities of the re listed home series of Ashes and reports by other media sources state that the inaugural game of IPL 2010 was watched by more people in England on ITV, whereas the ultimate audience for the Bangladesh v/s England test match series was way lower than the half a million cap (Economist, 2010). Sports thus have transformed to the requirements of the broadcaster and have well packaged itself to keep the viewership at its peak at all times. ENGLAND AND WALES CRICKET BOARD seems to have a great opportunity after the tremendous success of an innovative strategy like IPL, to adapt and put forth the trend and make a mark in the field of cricket.

Collation of Sports and Entertainment

A profitable business is much depended on its aptitude to maintain its relationships with the existing and trustworthy customers apart from trying to make deals with newer clients Caruana (2002) and Stavros (2008). For any successful sporting business, it is very critical inorder to keep up to the expectations of the customers to create unforgettable events and experiences for its admirers and enthusiasts at every possible point, as otherwise the loyalty of the customers could reduce by the day Miller et al (2008). Only then will a loyal customer be retained which helps in a long lasting commitment to the brand and eventually become cost effective advertisers Oliver (1997). In South Africa, at the 2004 T20 domestic league, it was seen that new aspects were included to keep the viewership throughout the game, such as fireworks, cheer girls, free hit, interaction with players and a whole new experience in cricket, stadium facilities and broadcast.

This not only increased the number of cricket enthusiasts in the country, but also saw the merger of a cricket and sport entertainment event for the first time evidently increasing the games pace. With the increase in rate of young viewership (below the age of 18) by 140,000 members, the cricket commissioners were persuaded that the innovative format was striking enough to fulfill the altering and varying needs of the viewers (Goldman et al, 2009).Thus overall satisfaction and a great experience at a sporting event is a must factor for any watcher and the result then becomes a very small constituent (Arnett et al, 2000).

Other factors such as, ticket cost, venue amenities and services, activities during the match which are under the control of the clubs have a great influence on the total attendance on the match day in England in comparison to just the English weather conditions Morley et al (2007). ENGLAND AND WALES CRICKET BOARD’s study in 2002 identified that there were 20 million people in the UK who were highly interested in the game and thus justified its state of the fourth popular game in England. To reach out to the target audience, ENGLAND AND WALES CRICKET BOARD went about introducing newer techniques of giving fancy county names in T20 cricket, the installation of flood lights during domestic games and restructuring of the entire game model (Kuenzel et al, 2007). T20 thus has the capability to retain its audience and this can be done with further re-packaging and study on what is the potentiality of IPL, which could appeal to the mass.

The Big Picture of IPL

IPL was born when India won the world T20 tournament and the gave rise to the interest of about 76% population across the world demanding this particular cricket format and by incorporating the best of the sporting leagues played ever. This demand was later put into a structure backed by a strong financial model (IPL Franchisee Prospectus, 2008).This game format ruled the minds of 1.2 billion Indians and was placed as the biggest entertainment reality show in India, which saw the dawn of very many stars in the field. Its biggest achievement in the global scenario was the fact that the players earned three times more in just 15 matches than the yearly English county contracts and thus began the race of the international players into the game making it more serious and bigger by the day, followed by a greater fan flow and excitement.

The 8% rising economic rate of the Indian economy with a continuous 20% growth every year in the events and entertainment business was one of the significant basis of IPL attaining a new trend status in the country and worldwide (IPL T20, 2010).At the end of the third year it was seen that IPL was viewed by 42 million people, through various means, the major being via cable television networks (Indiantelevision, 2010). From the above numbers 38% were women watchers and 45% were from the age group between 15-35 years (Economist, 2010).In a span of three years, the league has seen to have made a mark across 124 countries and also integrated itself into the digital medium by initiating a system to broadcast live matches to a mass of Indian mobile subscribers (350 million) and 55,532 subscribers through youtube and 16 million viewerships were recorded (Alootechie, 2010).The deal with ITV in 2010 lead to the free-to-air broadcast back for cricket in England after a span of 5 long years and the first match saw the viewership of half a million in the country (Telegraph, 2010).

The number of brands associated with the property increased from 40 to 80 in a span a three years between the first season to the third season and saw the addition of two fresh franchisees which were bid for $703 million in contrast to the bidding value of eight franchisees overall which was $725.5 million (Economist, 2010).Although the success of the property has been hampered at several events by constant accusations of bribery and mishandling, yet certain effective elements of the entire structure of IPL can be adopted by ENGLAND AND WALES CRICKET BOARD and can probably explore the potentials of intellectualizing a competitive tournament on the same lines.

League Mechanics

The domestic T20 competitions in England establishes 151 matches when compared to the 9 other cricket serious nations , which is on the higher scale , exclusive of the matches played in West Indies establishing another end of the scale. Sout Africa and Australia are the early adopters of the T20 cricket format and play not more than 20 domestic cricket matches per season.

Likewise, BCCI is not in for the idea of overexposing IPL and thus in the 2011 schedule it is seen that the number of matcher reduced from 94 to 74 with the incorporation of two more franchise (Sportzpower, 2010). Although Engalnd has the highest set of domestic teams, it has to restructure and strategize a methodology that is accepted within the market morals and principles to keep up the standards, keeping the viewership excited.

Indian Market and the Growth of Broadcasting Rights

It is believed from the reports generated by the media and researchers that the future leagues have the potentiality to make revenue of about £26 million in addition to the existing deals through broadcast (Telegraph, 2010).ENGLAND AND WALES CRICKET BOARD does not stand a chance to pitch for the tournament as an individual entity as neither of the two broadcasters (BCC/ITV) would be in a position to tender for exclusive rights. The only competition that can be foreseen here would be that of the Disney owned Espnstar Having been in close association for over two decades, the English cricket and Sky Sports could work out an ideal deal, where the leagues rights can be allowed within the existent pact and an adjustment could be made in the difference in finance in the prospective bid in 2013.ENGLAND AND WALES CRICKET BOARD can anticipate a positive growth of 40-60% from the present broadcast deal with Asia even if from the 1.2billion Indian population, 20% could be stimulated by the leagues activities, either as viewers or other advertising measures.

Consequences in Globalisation

Viable parallel like leagues are being discovered by cricket boards after the arrival of IPL.The game of cricket consist of three formats and it is the supreme primacy of ICC to bring up a balance amongst the three formats. Although T20 comes across as a format with the best of opportunities at a global level, it has not stood the time test and thus the attitude towards it should be vigilant. IPL’s success ratio has led to the discussion of franchisee/club respective T20 cricket as it has proved to be a medium in reaching out to the people gaining fame and distinction throughout.

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Today we can see the players retiring quite early from the game, either entirely or withdrawing from different formats slowly becoming free agents, and representing themselves in very many T20 domestic cricket formats throughout the world, as there is more income and less stress in these games as compared to a 50 over day and night, one day or even the long test matches. Some examples are that of, Andrew Symonds, Brett Lee, Shane Bond, Dirk Nannes and Andrew Flintoff. This is definitely a threat to the game of cricket as in such a manner the teams tend to lose out on their impact players.

IPL merged with the Champions league, followed by the deals with Cricket Australia Cricket South Africa and two associates of Champions league and has proved to be immensely beneficial. Crickets failure in formulating a calendar for some permanent dates throughout the year or time period has been its prevalent managerial issue. It is vital that the cricket boards come to a solution and freeze on dates for tournaments and come forth with a ‘Future tours programme” guide and take it across to attain utmost benefits considering the sudden fluctuations in the market.

Suggested structure

There are 18 teams in the T20 domestic format and these teams are then split into group of nine into two groups. It is also considered as the elite and the plate tier. Two tier leagues have fewer matches thus giving the clubs a commercial feasible proposal as the restricted pattern of the league will expand and increase gate intake in the upcoming matches. According to ENGLAND AND WALES CRICKET BOARD’s outlook, it believes that the T20 domestic cricket will prove and sustain to be its cash cow from the new structure, and would help from not getting to its peak of saturation in the very close future and thus getting into a new structure by forcing the members to initiate a plan that will suit the interest of the public.

The restructured model gives assurance to the fact that each and every match in the elite group is played to qualify to the next stage or to eliminate relegation. The fear of exclusivity will remain in this process but by playing really well in the plate league to reach to the top, will give the potential to receive more broadcasters and sponsors revenue which the team will be benefited of in the later stages. Thus this creates and enthusiasm amongst the players and will keep the players momentum on from not making a match a dead game which has certainly been a vital concern for the organizers.

Ticket costs

The ticket pricing strategy success is the most important in any sports event. Recently the ticket prices of tournaments have been brought down drastically in a global scenario due to the sight of empty stands seen quite often. This is the case with the T20 domestic league in England as well. Thus it is very important to reassure the strategy and make the necessary changes by the ENGLAND AND WALES CRICKET BOARD so that there is a higher viewership at the stands from the next season. The present price is £20, which can be brought down.

As cricket is not yet the most popular game in England, it thus becomes critical to look into the very many packages offered by the clubs to the public by reassuring

their position and initiatives. To reach the operational expenses it is vital that the host clubs work on getting the volume of the viewers at the stadium rather than selling minimum tickets and expecting a high revenue generation from the same.

Benefits of Promotional Strategies

It is quite easy for England to activate the current fan database and attract new followers to the game due to its advantage of having a rich cricket tradition. It has been noted that the followers of the domestic English cricket circuit has always been a lot more than that of India before the invention of IPL.

Initially ENGLAND AND WALES CRICKET BOARD came up with the strategy of spending a large amount of money on the media promotions, and it was found that this could not bring effective and efficient solutions to the existing problem of getting the audience attracted towards the game. Later it shifted its line of interest to on ground promotional activities and this gave them positive results immediately. This is the same scenario in the current T20 domestic cricket, which in comparison has increased to about 30% from the previous years.

It is critical that total emphasis and attention is put on the BTL activation programmes which is eventually supported and complimented by the virtual media. In order to make the sport to go past the reach of just cricket it is very important to have interactions focused on brand loyalty, which are innovative in nature and demand high levels of involvement by the individuals to break the muddle. An efficient Fan relationship management structure is directly proportional to the economic revenue generated and during the course seals the assurance of the relatively new fans throughout their lifetime. A lot of activities should be initiated in order to get the resident community clubs and county schools children and other members to be a part of the match. Incentives can be in the form of free match day tickets, a chance to click a picture with a favourite player, player visiting to the clubs and giving a face to face interaction and a lot of other campaigns to maximise the effect.

County and its Structure

With the help of the present day structure of the domestic cricket leagues, England cricket has been able to position itself in one of the prime phases in comparison to the yester years. Although there have been discussions in bringing down the number of matches played by each team from 16 to 12 matches, this is currently not a good option, as restructuring the entire model at this prime stage would prove to be disastrous towards the England’s fortune in cricket in the future.

In order to allow T20 cricket and test matches to make their mark once again, there have been debates in stopping the one day internationals globally, the reason being that it gives the players to grow in the game eventually from the longer formats of the game leading to the shorter ones that Is from test cricket to T20 matches. ICC in this scenario is not planning to put a hold on the one day internationals at the moment thus ENGLAND AND WALES CRICKET BOARD should continue the matches as well, slightly restructuring to a single four week game, to fit into the current domestic T20 trend.

Issues in Management

ENGLAND AND WALES CRICKET BOARD’s governing council is formed by the MCC and 18 county cricket clubs respectively. In the current scenario, all the county clubs have the right to bid for the one day international and the ground bidding the supreme price is rewarded the rights of hosting the game. This was not a very accepted format by the counties as they felt that by introducing an international competition amongst their peers abolished the clubs profit making abilities.

The counties are not financially liberated and thus are at a state where they have attained loans from other monetary institutions to invest in their infrastructure so as to gain maximum probabilities in winning the bid. Yet ENGLAND AND WALES CRICKET BOARD gives the boards a £1.5 million token annually having been able to access the overall income generated through other main sponsorship pacts and Sky Sports broadcasting deals. Here we can see an evident imbalance in the ENGLAND AND WALES CRICKET BOARD structure and this was the reason for the request of a T20 cricket league, as per the IPL model to open up new monetary generation opportunities. It has thus been decided upon that an T20 style cricket league such that of IPL is not feasible in England logistically and thus a close solution will be that of implementing a rotation system by giving all the 18 counties an opportunity to host the games which will enable the clubs to generate more revenue and maintain their monitory stands eventually benefitting the English cricket.

Despite of all the restrictions, ENGLAND AND WALES CRICKET BOARD should be admired for scheduling the domestic and international cricket between the months April to September, accommodating it perfectly within its petite summer calendar. The ENGLAND AND WALES CRICKET BOARD seems to have only been on the profit lines by restructuring its T20 domestic league within the two tier format as eventually the compression from the short summer calendar games will reduce considerably. A player will thus have more and often free space to practice and rest which will be followed by breakthrough performance. There will be more revenue generation and increase in levels of interests by the public by the growth in quality of T20 and domestic cricket. All the above mentioned alterations will lead to the universal raise of English cricket.


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