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The Science behind Fan Engagment

IPL teams have recognized the importance of fan loyalty but are clueless on how to go about building a loyal fan base.    They started off assuming that this would happen automatically because they had captive markets and strong regional affiliations.   Once they saw that this was not happening they started taking a very ‘top down’ approach to solving this problem.    Design some marketing programs at the very top and pray that the benefits reach the fans.   This has also come to naught. The only way to building fan loyalty is by taking a   ‘bottom up’ or fan centric approach   – building a loyal base one fan at a time.    Teams need to invest in understanding its fans, offer the fans what they want and only then will fans reward them with their loyalty.   You can’t rush this process.   Just because you have 10 beautiful women around you, you cannot deliver a baby in 1 month, now can you J Building fan loyalty is a complex science.   While monetization of fan

MSD's captaincy

Is it just me or are there others who think that Dhoni is a terrible captain?   I am a big India and Chennai Super Kings fan.   Both teams have done very well under MSD over the last few years.   So I shouldn’t complain – right?   Wrong.   I believe that we win in spite of Dhoni on many occasions and not because of him – certainly not his captaincy.   Dhoni as a keeper-batsman is awesome and worth his weight in gold.   That is not the point.   But the mistakes that he makes in captaincy again and again is mind-boggling.    Remember how he kept saying that Ashwin was a great spinner and kept dropping him during the World Cup?   Remember his crazy faith on players like Piyush Chawla, Rohit Sharma, etc. when all of us were tearing our hair out.   And add to that instances like what we saw in the last game – dropping Zaheer after saying he was the ‘Sachin’ of Indian bowling, etc.    And it is clear from the press reports today that Sehwag was not ‘requested’ to sit out like it was m

Olympic Coverage

What does Olympics mean for you? I have watched the last couple of Olympics in NBC in the US.   The coverage was all US (understandable, though irritating) and it was all about the US players.   Where they come from, their trials and tribulations, their sacrifices, the heartaches, the dizzying success, their work ethic – everything added to the narrative for me.    It was always the personal story that got me and kept me tuning in and watching all kinds of sports.    This time, I am watching it in India.   There is a lot more coverage of events that India is not participating in (understandable – India does not participate in much J ) and so the event is truly international.   But there are NO stories.   This is just one event after another without pausing to cover the players involved at all.    I cannot distinguish one athlete from the other.   I can’t pick favourites, because I do not know much about anyone.    Given this, I am unable to watch a lot of spo

Saina Nehwal - Olympics 2012

It is easy to write something about a player after he/she has won something big.   I am writing this right after Saina Nehwal has lost her semi finals to Wang Yihan in the Olympics today.  I have to confess; I have not seen a lot of Saina before the Olympics.   I have watched her play a few times here and there and read about her exploits over the past couple of years.   I was very impressed with what I saw.   There is lots to like about this young lady and very little to criticize.   She has a complete game and seems unfazed by whatever is happening around her.   I am sure she was feeling the pressure of the nation as she played the Olympics – but looking at her, you could hardly tell.    I compared her facial expressions from the final points in her win in the quarter finals against Tina Baun and the loss in the semi-finals to Wang– to see if she was reacting differently to win and loss.   Nothing. Reminded me of another great player of the modern age whom I see displaying t

Club Vs Country

With the IPL safely behind us, let us look at the Club Vs Country debate dispassionately.  We will focus on cricket, but learn generously from sports like football - which have been grappling with this issue for a lot longer.   There are 2 primary questions to answer – 1.  If a player has a conflict between a country game and a club game, what should he/she choose?  2.  If the player has to miss playing in order to rest the body (an increasingly important aspect of modern professional sports), should he/she choose to rest country games or club games?  Alas, it is not a easy choice to make because of a few key reasons – playing for the country is considered patriotic (equating players to soldiers in some instances) thus making players feel like they are traitors if they choose club over country.   On the other hand, players do make more money per game playing for a club – and it is hard to choose country over club and end up the poorer because of the choice.   Le

Indian tennis - the cast is bigger than the plot

The Olympics has not yet begun and we already had a thrilling episode wrt the Indian tennis team for London.   We saw the personalities come out in full colour.  Mahesh “He is a back-stabber” Bhupathi, Rohan “no one but Mahesh” Bopanna, Leander “it is all about India” Paes and Sania “I am a victim” Mirza– what a joke.  This was a soap opera playing out in the open and every actor (and atleast one dad) wanted his or her 15 minutes in the limelight.  For those who didn’t follow the story, here is one version of it http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/london-olympics-2012/news/Controversies-mark-Indian-tennis-ahead-of-Olympics/articleshow/14861893.cms Amongst all of this, what was lost was the quality of Team India in Olympics.  We have a 39 year old and a 38 year old representing us in what is clearly a young man’s sport.   Whatever happened to the Yuki Bhambri’s of the world? I remember seeing Yuki play 4 years ago in the juniors in US open and being really impressed by hi
Growing up, we have been told repeatedly – winning is not as important as competing.   Events like the Olympics, with the famed Olympic spirit mantra, reinforce this message.  But how pragmatic is this notion of ‘competing’ as opposed to ‘winning’. Let us leave philosophy aside for a bit and look at this question from a purely commercial angle. Both Roger Federer and David Nalbandian have been in the professional tennis circuit for around the same amount of time.  Early evidence suggests that both of them were equally talented (with David winning almost all matches he played against Roger).  But over the years Roger has figured out how to win – not just against David but also against the other players.  As of now - Roger has taken home 8 times more money than Nalbandian has.  (73M Vs. 11 M).  Both are top-notch tennis players and yet, the difference is so stark. http://www.atpworldtour.com/Players/Head-To-Head.aspx?pId=F324&oId=N301 And this is just one part of the sto