The Amazing Business of Cricket Merchandising in India

By axio

As Indians, we all know that cricket in India is more than just a sport; it's a way of life. If cricket were a planet, we'd be the supercontinent right at the centre of it. And what's even more intriguing is the incredible business of sports merchandising that's booming right here in the heart of cricket madness.

The Business of Merchandise

The IPL, that's Indian Premier League for the uninitiated, boasts a value of a jaw-dropping $10.7 billion by 2023. By association, this would mean much more potential for a merchandise market. 

Remember the days when cricket was about timeless tests and graceful drives? Fast forward to today, and it's about smashing sixes, taking wickets, and, of course, looking good while doing it. 

Thanks to the IPL, showcasing loyalty to a team has taken centre stage in many cricket-centric situations. 

This is where cricket merchandise makes an amazing entry! Over the last 15 years, the loyalty Indian cricket fans showcase has evolved drastically. Fans of teams like CSK, RCB, and Mumbai Indians have started sporting club merchandise with pride, just like football fans around the world. The times when people ventured out with jerseys of their favourite clubs are now 'normal'!

From League to Madness

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what sparked this idea of merchandise and helped it grow from an idea into a business—the IPL. As the IPL kept growing in India, team loyalties and player following skyrocketed. For the past 16 years, the IPL has evolved from a league to a 50-day festival.

The Quirky World of Consumer Behavior during the IPL 

Now, let's talk about us, the cricket fans in India. We're a unique bunch, to say the least. We don't just buy merchandise; we invest in our passion. It's like we're saying, Hey, I'm not just a fan; I'm practically part of the team! Our emotions run wild when it comes to cricket. We live and breathe it, and our purchasing decisions are driven by pure fandom.

The thrill of wearing our favourite team's jersey, sipping coffee from a mug adorned with cricket legends, or even using a cricket-themed phone cover isn't just about style. It's about being part of a collective identity. We wear our hearts on our sleeves, quite literally!

Social media magnifies this loyalty, and brands and communities use it to capture the fervour. For instance, the #gearuptocheer campaign is about showing off your loyalty in the right gear this IPL season. 

However, it's not just about identifying as a loyal supporter. For Businesses, it’s a check waiting to be cashed. The sports goods industry, of which merchandising is a significant part, is said to stand at about 4 Billion USD.  

It’s no surprise Adidas bid to be the Indian team’s kit sponsorship for a staggering 250 Crore INR. The revenue Adidas stands to gain was a significant boost to the country’s World Cup-related revenue. 

Price Tag VS Loyalty

You might wonder how the common IPL fans afford merchandise that changes every year and is priced well above the common man’s means. Well, there's a secret sauce to it. Jugaad. 

Showing loyalty is not about what's officially 'Indian' or not. It's about flaunting your team colours. These colours have become more than just a representation of the team; they're a symbol of our undying loyalty. When it's about cricket, these colours are like the uniform of our fandom.

This is the loophole anyone realising the potential of this business is exploiting, and rightly so. Small-time traders with access to printing machinery have gotten on this trend and struck gold. 

During the IPL final last year, a match that had India’s favourite, MS Dhoni, playing, small-time manufacturers and sellers sold merchandise in the 10's of crores. Nearly everyone, including kids, adults, and the elderly, had their own colours to support the team. 

This might not seem like much, but remember, this is the sale leading up to one match. Imagine the business during an entire IPL season. Imagine the impact the sector would have on the economy - unofficial or otherwise. 

French sporting goods giants Decathlon tend to attend every significant sports event, and the IPLs are no exception. 

Decathlon creates products with unique designs for football leagues and tournaments. Balls, jerseys, accessories - you name it, they've got it, and it's all about embracing the spirit of the game. Their SKU list boasts of accessories and merchandise that cater to fans of all teams; however, it limited their fanbase in India. 

But it just doesn’t stop there. Petsway, a brand manufacturing and supplying pet accessories, has recently jumped on the bandwagon and introduced an Indian Cricket Jersey for our canine and feline friends during the previous World Cup. 

The intriguing yet promising world of cricket merchandising in India is only taking shape. It's not just about jerseys and mugs; it's a love affair with a sport that unites a nation. Our cricket loyalty knows no bounds, and brands have recognized the goldmine that is the cricket-crazy Indian market.

Until then, let's keep the cricket spirit alive, and remember - cricket isn't just a game; it's a way of life!