"For sports, India has to be the last huge market and possibly the biggest opportunity on the planet today." The March 21 auction of the two IPL teams bears out this prophecy made by a UK-based sports consultancy firm in October 2008. Almost overnight, on March 21, the potential value of all IPL teams shot up by four to six times their price paid just two years ago. Mumbai Indians, IPL's biggest franchise that was bought for $112 million, could well be worth over $600 million now. This means that the value of investment has grown over five times in two years-a very impressive business proposition even for the world's richest Indian, Mukesh Ambani, who owns the team.
Though cricket, and specifically IPL, is the crowning example of the scope, size and growth of sports business in India, the prospects for other sports are by no means negligible. With the rapid growth in household incomes, the leisure time of the middle class Indians has become a huge marketing opportunity. Television viewing grabs the prime slice of leisure time and sports a good portion of that slice-especially when sports is tinged with Bollywood glamour. Brands, big and small, looking for ways to build their share of a huge consumer market, want to be on this viewership platform.
This is what is fuelling the IPL and will boost the prospects of other sports, too-a recent example being the Hockey World Cup. Broadcast on YouTube opens another opportunity. You own (or are a fan of) an obscure football team or a strong but regional sport that national TV isn't interested in? The Internet will cover it-giving you first the visibility and then the advertising. Our cover story takes you through these less understood, but fast-emerging facets of the business of sports.
From the stories of some of India's newest brands like the IPL, we take you to one of the country's oldest and most endearing brands-Amul. We tell you how and why the 63-year-old dairy business is amidst its most significant transitions ever. DuPont is one of the world's oldest companies-207 years to be precise. Yet, in India, it is still relatively small. Is that set to change? Find out on page 90. Sports may be the new leisure business, but that doesn't mean the old claimants to our leisure time aren't demanding their share. Our special report for this issue outlines the new and happening trends in the hospitality and travel industries. Fun, in any shape and form, is becoming a big business.