by Vidya Damani
The world cup and the mania around it took me back to my childhood. I have grown up in a house full of ‘cricket crazy people’ aka men. The women sooner or later learnt to enjoy it, probably because of lack of options. And this was the case as I knew it, in my friend’s homes too. Of course there were a handful of women who genuinely enjoyed the sport too and shared the same passion that the men did. But it would be safe to assume that this number was not large enough for brands to talk to.
Cut to 2011 the ‘gentlemen’s game’ is no longer restricted to only gentlemen watching.
Sponsors like LG and Emirates prove that even ‘family brands‘ see value in the investment. But I would like to push it further on the scale….why should women brands shy away from sponsoring cricket? Is it that the association with cricket is very strongly male….or is it our mind-set that does not allow us to see the change outside?
The way women interact with cricket has undergone a change. Look around, four out of ten teams of the IPL are owned / co-owned by women. A large population of women took leave to watch the legendary India-pak match. The match that enjoyed a record breaking viewership of over 66 million people (this is more than four times the number of people who tuned into watch the 2010 Major League Baseball World Series)!!! Even if we were to assume that a quarter of it was women viewership…that makes it approximately 16.5 million! And not one of the sponsors was a ‘women’s brand’.
As the whole nation witnessed the roaring crowds at the stadiums during the world cup matches, I could not help but notice women fans cheering as enthusiastically as the male fans. All these put together lead me to wonder if I will see ‘Olay’ written on the cricket field in the next world cup?…!