Vanity league

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Published: December 10, 2015 12:25:11 AM

Sanjiv Goenka does well to clarify the IPL team will not be owned by CESC, nor will the funding come from it

When wannabe mobile handset maker Intex Technologies offers to pay BCCI Rs 10 crore to bag the Rajkot IPL team, it makes sense. It needs branding, and with $18-20 billion of smartphones sold in India this year, the potential market is large enough to accommodate the Rs 50-60 crore it will lose on its team each year. That is also the reason why Chinese handset firm ViVo was quick to replace Pepsico as IPL’s title sponsor when the latter pulled out.

But why did CESC want the Pune team? As an electric utility it doesn’t need branding. But then, nor does the GMR Group which, being in the infrastructure business, is not your typical IPL brand. Which is why CESC chairman Sanjiv Goenka has done well to say there will be no outflow from CESC, that the franchise will be held by the family and perhaps some other group companies—he mentioned Philips Carbon, which also doesn’t really need branding.

The group has consumer-facing brands in the music and retail business—it also owns an up-market mall in Kolkata—which could benefit. Whether the branding helps is unclear, but it is the lure that advertising, and IPL, is all about. And vanity.

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