Variety

Cricket, the great leveller

Mumbai | Updated on April 02, 2011 Published on April 02, 2011

Outside support: The man claims to have flown from Punjabfor the Cup final but could not get a ticket. He cheered forIndia from outside the stadium. — Shashi Ashiwal

Different ball game: Men – and women – in blue. They too are playing for thecountry. Members of the Rapid Action Force warm up outside the stadium ahead of the World Cup final on Saturday in Mumbai. — Shashi Ashiwal





Willingly getting “war” tricolour applied on their faces, heads and bodies were not just fans getting into the stadium, but also those who couldn't manage passes and were hanging around, or even those simply passing by the Wankhede.

The situation is not quite the same at every entrance to the stadium.

The ones getting out of their Jaguars at some of the stands' gates understandably weren't being approached to smear paint on themselves for Rs 20.

A media buyer with a large agency lamented that even after buying tens of crores of rupees worth of ad spots on the World Cup matches for clients, he couldn't manage to get two passes to watch the final in Mumbai.

A senior professional tracking the advertising industry informed us that a certain Sir Martin Sorrell of advertising behemoth WPP has silently slipped into the country, and has shuttled between Delhi, Mohali and Mumbai over the last few days.

A conversation revealed that Sir Martin watched the India-Pakistan semi-final at the stadium, and is scheduled to watch the final in Mumbai at the Wankhede too.

What he's watching on ground, millions are watching on Television.

And because so many of us are watching the grand finale of the biggest competition of this glorious game, we are told there are brands that have spent over Rs 25 lakhs for a 10-second spot on the sports channel bouquet of the official broadcaster.

For some brands that did not, or could not, pick up the least cost package from the official broadcaster – which we're told covered all India matches, six non-India matches and the knock out matches at over Rs 12 crore – the proposition of last minute buys has been interesting.

Beyond the marketing debates that have raged on through the course of the Cup is on-ground ‘innovation' by some, who detached themselves from their ‘core competencies' for a day. Selling flags, whistles, horns and offering paint services outside the stadium are those who otherwise work at fast food joints, petrol pumps and the like.

Cricket is a great leveller that touches and binds every strata in India, albeit in different ways.

And we still don't know if India will win the cup as we close pages. But we do know at the end of World Cup 2011, that cricket won.

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Published on April 02, 2011
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