13 May 2008

Is the threat real?

This is a response to TM's post below. Even far away from India and the IPL, it is hard not see how shaken people seem to be by the spectre of 'corporatisation'.

Dravid first lost the Colonel's faith, and then went ahead and now has almost lost the Liquor Baron's. What is the difference? The Colonel is the chairman of the selection committee of the BCCI. The Liquor Baron represents the franchise ownership of the Bangalore Royal Challengers.

The chairman of the selection committee is responsible to those that control the BCCI purse. That the BCCI is responsible to its stakeholders, the fans of Indian cricket, will never cross the minds of the mandarins because of the absolute monopoly they hold in the product market known as international cricket in India.

The ownership of the BRC, on the other hand, is immediately responsible to gate collections and franchise T-shirt sales - the ownership in an ultra-competetive market is much more likely to feel the pinch of waning fan interest. The absolute unlikeliness of regional quotas ever finding place at a BRC selection meeting is an example. On the other hand, there is always the chance that a cricketer with a greater ability at selling T-shirts (think Beckham and Real Madrid) will get a favourable hearing.

Theoretically at least, a competetive market where the fan is free to shift allegiance, seems a fairer (or at least more democratic) judge and executioner of a player's fortunes, as compared to a selection committee that exists in a monopolistic vacuum, free from competetive pressures. Of course, there will be unfair application of what is fair in theory - and that will depend on the nature of the ownership. Is the ownership Machiavellian about profits? Is the corporate culture dictatorial?

Corporatisation by itself, is no great danger. In fact, there is good reason to argue that selection will end up a fairer process. Also, when ownership realizes the importance of attracting and retaining good employees - and the Liquor Baron will not be a stranger to the Great Global War for Talent, franchises are bound to place more thought on conditions of employment.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

even though i agree with john that TM may not be right about the alleged "dangers" of corporatization, I do not agree with the essence of the comment, i.e., corporatization is the lesser evil of the two. Corporatization is great I feel, it takes the focus away from the name, puts it on the performance. The obvious counter to this point, i.e. class is permanent while form is temporary and corporatization allows a player to be fired based on temporary bad form is not really correct. Because a true shrewd businessman has nothing personal against a player. It is only if in his informed opinion, the player is no longer someone capable of contributing as much to his ruthless winning cause as another potential player, that the player will be dropped. If a businessman is stupid enough to drop class players over a couple of bad performances, that is in fact his bad judgment which he will pay for in the corporatized world.

So, maybe we should ask ourselves, do dravid n kallis n company really have the class for 20-20?