Sunil Gavaskar column: Hospitality, transport, food, merchandise, and more - how cricket drives the economy

Whenever there is a game of cricket in the country, one can see numerous employment opportunities opening up.

Making hay while the sun shines: During cricket matches face painters turn up to paint the faces of the fans with the logos of their favourite teams and sometimes the names of the players.

Making hay while the sun shines: During cricket matches face painters turn up to paint the faces of the fans with the logos of their favourite teams and sometimes the names of the players. | Photo Credit: K. V. SRINIVASAN

Whenever there is a game of cricket in the country, one can see numerous employment opportunities opening up.

Cricket’s popularity has opened up and created avenues of employment that were unheard of before the technology revolution took place. While going to a cricket game, it becomes obvious what the game is doing for the economy. Firstly, there is the travel industry that benefits from the travel of the playing group as well as the media — both print and electronic. That then is reflected in the hotel industry as the caravan moves from one city to the other. Not to forget the transport industry which has to ferry these groups to the airport and from there to the hotels and then from there to the stadiums and back to hotels. The food and beverages industry is another that benefits as also the housekeeping which has to get the clothes washed and ready for the next day. The transport is benefitted additionally by all the others who want to go to the stadiums to watch the match.

As you near the stadium you see what employment opportunities the game opens up. There are those street side vendors selling team merchandise like caps and jerseys with the names of the buyers’ favourite players on the backs of these shirts. These shirts may not be official merchandise but has created a small industry of its own. There are also those who make the national flag and team flags. There are the face painters who paint the faces of the fans with the logos of their favourite teams and sometimes the names of the players. There are some who sell colourful wigs and whistles and little cymbals to create just the kind of electric atmosphere that makes watching the game such an enjoyable spectacle. Not to forget, the vendors selling food to those spectators not having hospitality box tickets where food and drinks are usually served. There are small restaurants near the stadiums that do roaring business on match days. Then there are the rickshaws and taxis which bring the spectators to the ground and take them back to their homes.

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The way technology has advanced has meant that even a person who may not have played much cricket gets the opportunity to talk about it on public media platforms and many actually earn some money doing so. They give previews, mid-innings reviews and end of the match analysis to their followers. There must be many more avenues of income which I may have overlooked but the above is just to give an idea what the game of cricket does to the economy.

There are others street side vendors selling merchandise like flags, caps, jerseys and horns which create just the kind of electric atmosphere that makes watching the game such an enjoyable spectacle.

There are others street side vendors selling merchandise like flags, caps, jerseys and horns which create just the kind of electric atmosphere that makes watching the game such an enjoyable spectacle. | Photo Credit: K. V. Srinivasan

That’s why when the IPL, in particular, is targeted and matches not allowed to be held for some cause or the other, it just makes you wonder whether those calling for the boycott of matches are even aware of how many hundreds dependent on a cricket match for their day’s earnings have to go hungry to satisfy the egos of a few.

The sadder part is that the causes for which the matches are boycotted and not allowed to take place still remain unfulfilled after all these years with little chance of anything positive coming out of it at all.

The IPL is a soft target and so finds itself very often in the firing line of the so called ‘do gooders’ who end up doing no good to their fellow brethren who depend on these games for their day’s food.

Hopefully next time a call for boycott is given, there will be some who will get up and remind of how such a call is actually stamping on the stomachs of the daily wagers and earners.

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