Sunday, May 22, 2011

Leo Messi on NYTimes

A reasonable piece (for NYTimes) on Leo Messi. Sans the bizarre poetry.

Apparently in the same week - before and after this went to press - the NYT carried several Nike advertisements.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Muammar Gaddafi's Nurse Diaries

Her "little father's" largesse and generosity as chronicled by Gaddafi's Ukranian nurse. A window into Muammar Gaddafi's private life and personal ways: A great psychologist who could intuit through a caress. Magnanimous yet suspicious to the point of being paranoid. And of course, ruthless when crossed.

Classic traits oft-found in certain mammalian dinosaurs, not to mention Bangladeshi dictators.

For more on the psychological profile of dictators, read this for a fascinating psychological profile on Hitler.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The IPL Industry for Dummies

Shetty and Kundra, Franchise Owners

You too, I am sure, have heard of the millions of dollars being splurged by IPL team owners, the Vijay Mallyas, the Shahrukh Khans and the Shilpa Shettys.

You must have wondered where all this money is going, and why on earth are teams made up of a few foreign and Indian cricketers, loosely put together seemingly, to play 20 over-matches over 6-8 weeks, worth hundreds of millions of dollars?

If you have some business acumen (or interest), you, like me, must have wondered. How is all this investment going to be recouped?

Regardless of how exciting or tacky the IPL may be to you, fact remains that herein is a business case that's worthy of B-school hall of fame. So let's understand this IPL business model and I promise this will be as basic as a back-of-the-envelope calculation.

Indian Premier League (IPL) Second Most Lucrative Sports League

The Indian Premier League 2011 is a behemoth. This is known to most of us, but what was unknown to me is the scale of monies involved. Sure, I had heard the cricket economy in India was a gargantuan beast and the IPL was at the heart of it. I had heard ridiculous statistics during lunch conversations with Indian colleagues about how Dhoni who endorses 25-plus brands, rakes in an average of 10 crores per brand. Recently the Open Magazine carried an article on Dhoni calling him the 230 crore man (and this was before his World Cup final winning sixer). This seemed a bit strange given that the net worth of Shahrukh Khan's endorsements is much lower.

Recently, I had also heard that the two new IPL teams based out of Pone and Cochi were each worth in excess of USD 230 million. But I didn't quite put in context these astronomical sums in the context of Indian realities. And frankly, I often sensed hyperbole in these statistics.

This report from Sports Intelligence - a ranking of the wealthiest sports leagues globally - was therefore, very edifying, and surprising.

According to this report, the IPL is the second wealthiest league in the world, with the average starting-11 cricketer raking in a whopping £48,000 per week. The NBA came out on top with £51,800, and the mighty English Premier League a lowly fourth, with £28,000 per week.

Note though that Real Madrid, Barcelona and Chelsea have far higher average weekly salaries than most sports club teams. It is the league-wide average however that is relatively low for football leagues in Europe. 

Of course, the number of teams/franchises playing IPL are half the number of teams playing in the EPL. And the EPL lasts for a year while the IPL lasts only for a month and a half. 

But bear in mind that the IPL is only three seasons old, is perfectly tailored for a television audience in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Dubai (and even England), and has demonstrated a business model that is nothing if not scalable. More on this later.