Page last updated at 13:40 GMT, Friday, 17 April 2009 14:40 UK

Cricket move boost for South Africa

By Bill Wilson
Business reporter, BBC News

Matthew Hayden of Chennai Super Kings
Vast sums have been spent on star players by IPL cricket teams

The second season of the Indian Premier League starts in South Africa on Saturday and the five-week tournament will feature many of the world's leading players who have been snapped up by the eight franchises.

The star-studded, multimillion-dollar IPL - which also carries a hint of Bollywood glamour - was moved to South Africa after concerns over security in India, because of a clash of dates with the general elections.

England had been an initial favourite to host the IPL, but worries about the weather and possible large tax demands have prompted the IPL to move the event to South Africa, which also hosts next year's Fifa World Cup football tournament.

Moving the IPL show to South Africa could help boost its economy, which shrank in the last quarter of 2008 for the first time in 10 years, and - like the UK - could be facing possible recession.

When IPL supremo Lalit Modi revealed in March that the tournament was leaving India he said that "anybody in a recession would want to have us".

It has been estimated that the IPL, British and Irish Lions rugby tour and Fifa Confederations Cup tournament this June could provide a $200m revenue boost for South Africa this summer.

Increased profile

The IPL season will feature 59 games running until 24 May, with the opening game in Cape Town.


Holding the IPL here is strengthening our entrepreneurial spirit

Grant Haskin, deputy mayor of Cape Town


Grant Haskin, Executive Deputy Mayor of Cape Town, told the BBC: "There will be a favourable economic impact for Cape Town. We have not had a chance to measure it yet, because there has been such a short space of time between the announcement the IPL was coming here and the season starting.

"There is the obvious tourism angle - the IPL is bringing fans from across the globe and across the country to Cape Town and the other cricket venues."

Mr Haskin said the tournament would increase the media profile of Cape Town and South Africa across all of Asia - "not just India, but also places like China and Japan and other countries, from where we are getting a growing number of tourists.

Newlands Cricket Ground in Cape Town
The IPL cricket tournament gets under way in Cape Town

"As well as the immediate economic benefit coming from the cricket, it will also show the world that we can stage big international events without problems, and that will help with selling next year's soccer World Cup," he said.

"Sports fans and sportspeople will see that they can be safely looked after in South Africa.

"We have also managed to turn this around in a couple of weeks, so people can see that South Africa is capable of organising large international events."

Mr Haskin added that the various procurement processes around the IPL was giving valuable tendering experience to small up and coming businesses.

"Of course, not all of the tenders are successful, but it gives them experience in case they want to get involved with the 2010 World Cup. Holding the IPL here is strengthening our entrepreneurial spirit."

'Financial implications'

Tickets for the two double-headers in Cape Town this weekend sold out inside two hours.

The Deccan Chargers  in a parade through the centre of Cape Town
The IPL is bringing "high class entertainment" to South Africa

As well as Cape Town, other South African cities hosting games are East London, Port Elizabeth, Durban, Bloemfontein, Kimberley, Johannesburg and Pretoria.

"Moving this tournament, with its considerable financial implications and huge global television audience, to South Africa in such a short space of time is yet another major indication of world confidence in us," said football World Cup chief executive Danny Jordaan.

"Some of the biggest cricket stars in the world will be here, showcasing again the world-class facilities of our country and love for high-quality entertainment."

Celebrity owners

The IPL has added its own brand of glitzy glamour to cricket, with players auctioned for dizzying sums and cheerleaders bringing glamour, US-style, to matches.

Shilpa Shetty and Preity Zinta
Shilpa Shetty of Rajasthan Royals and Preity Zinta of Kings XI Punjab

The Kolkata Knight Riders franchise is co-owned by Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan, Indian businessman Jai Mehta and his Bollywood actress wife, Juhi Chawla.

Other team owners include like Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, alcohol baron and airline owner Vijay Mallya, and Bollywood star Preity Zinta.

Another Bollywood connection comes in the shape of actress Shilpa Shetty, well known to Big Brother viewers in the UK, and who owns 11% of Rajasthan Royals.

Millions of dollars in prize money are up for grabs, and team owners stumped up a total of $700m to purchase franchises from the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

The IPL renegotiated its $1.8 billion 10-year broadcast-rights deal with Sony-owned Multi Screen Media (MSM) and World Sports Group (WSG) last month.

IPL TEAM OWNERS

Mumbai Indians: $111.9m paid by industrialist Mukesh Ambani
Bangalore Royal Challengers: $111.6m paid by tycoon Vijay Mallya
Deccan Chargers: $107m paid by newspaper group Deccan Chronicle
Chennai Super Kings: $91m paid by BCCI secretary and businessman N Srinivasan
Delhi Daredevils: $84m paid by business group GMR Holdings
Kings XI Punjab: $76m paid by Bollywood star Preity Zinta and friends
Kolkata Knight Riders: $75m paid by Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan
Rajasthan Royals: $67m paid by Emerging Media Group, and 11% stake now owned by Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty

And for this season, "time-outs" are to be introduced in an attempt to squeeze in more television advertising.

The breaks have been designed to make even more money by selling airtime, and in total there are 118 two-and-half minute television advertising slots for sale.

Meanwhile, this week Wrigley India has agreed sponsorship deals with all the eight IPL teams for its Boomer and Orbit products.

And in a week of frenzied activity, IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals has agreed new sponsorship deals with IT company Tata Consultancy Services and cement manufacturer UltraTech.

TCS will become the Royals' official technology partner under a new three-year agreement. Ultratech will be the team's kit sponsor during the 2009 IPL season, replacing insurance company Bajaj Allianz.

'Build a brand'

Meanwhile, South Africa's economic gain has been India's loss.

The move to SA has left India's sports goods manufacturers disappointed, as they were expecting a boom in cricket equipments demand in the country.

IPL commissioner Lalit Modi
IPL boss Lalit Modi says they can create a legacy in South Africa

Reports in India have also speculated that moving the tournament to South Africa will cost small firms, merchandising companies, local sponsors and entertainment companies up to 750m rupees (£10m).

And the loss from gate receipts is estimated at more than 500m rupees.

In addition, the Indian hospitality and travel industry could also lose an estimated 500m rupees, say industry sources.

However, as Lalit Modi says: "For us, South Africa was always suitable from a logistical and infrastructure point of view and it is our belief that we can build a brand and legacy of involvement that lasts for years to come."



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