BY BHINESH ANTHONY
Women’s cricket in India has one huge advantage over most other countries: Cricket is already our No.1 sport.
There are close to 12.4 Crore cricket fans in India which represent 91% of the total sports fans as per a report by Ormax Media
But is women’s cricket in India currently marketable?
Despite the majority of the population following cricket and the sport being played in every nook and corner of the country, we are sitting on an untapped gold mine when it comes to women’s cricket – be it as a sport in itself or as an investable entity for brands With the Women’s T20 Challenge underway, there have been a few brands that stepped in last moment but the league is still far from being close to anything resembling the IPL.
BCCI announced a full-fledged Women’s IPL with six teams to start next year. This could be a game-changer, and if the administration could align the teams with existing franchises, facilities, branding, fan loyalty could be shared.
Another important aspect – is acceptance by the masses. Improved performances of the women’s team over the past few World Cups has been an eye-opener for a majority of people. Bollywood stepping in to make biopics on India’s legendary cricketers Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami is another small yet significant milestone.
In short, women’s cricket is ripe for greater monetisation—but only if a certain key element can fall into place. The biggest challenge is to pull in substantial TV and stadium audiences, which in turn would increase marketing spending. But for this to happen, the entire Indian sports industry needs to invest on a sustained basis in creating more opportunities for the sport to prove its worth.