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Cricket in India is a festival: it binds people together, has everyone cheering in unity and brings together different religions, castes, and age groups. Being the most followed sport in a single country by number of viewers and boasting the 2nd largest fan count across all sports (only behind football), it would be an understatement to say that cricket has taken the sporting world by storm.

India hosted the 13th edition of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup after 12 years, creating an electric atmosphere: people watching matches every day religiously, stadiums being nearly 100% booked out, and the streets remaining empty on Indian matchdays. It was simply in the air. It was also the first World Cup after the COVID-19 pandemic. While the cricket grabbed centre-stage, the money tells a tale just as tantalising.

The World Cup kicked off on 5 October 2023, with the finals played on 19 November. A total of 45 league matches and 3 knockouts unfolded in this span of 46 days across 10 major cities in India.

Since all these major cities were to host not only the teams but also the fans and supporters, adequate attention to sectors such as tourism, hotels and hospitality, food and beverage, FMGC, e-commerce, e-sports or online gaming and the like found a crucial place in the planning process.

Economists from the Bank of Baroda have estimated that the World Cup could inject a staggering ₹20,000 crore into the Indian economy. Another report from BQ Prime echoes this sentiment, forecasting an economic boost of around Rs 13,500 crore.

The combined projected ad revenue on TV and digital platforms fell somewhere in the ₹2,000-2,200 crore region compared to the ₹1,350 crore mark it hit four years ago in the 2019 edition, according to a note from brokerage firm Elara Capital.

Broadcaster Star had bagged the broadcasting rights for the ICC events held from 2015 to 2023 for an approximate value of ₹17,500 crore; the broadcaster went on to bag ₹150 crore in sponsorship for TV advertisements from digital payment solutions provider PhonePe, which joined a growing list of popular brands that advertised during the World Cup. Official sponsors for the 2023 edition include global giants like Coca-Cola, Google Pay, Unilever, Emirates, Kingfisher Packaged Drinking Water,, and MRF Tyres.

Around 10-15% of the advertisement spots for the India-Pakistan game allegedly sold at the last minute, at prizes as high as ₹60 lakh per 10 seconds. However, brands that have planned their World Cup media spend had paid anywhere in the range of ₹35-45 lakh per 10 seconds for the India-Pakistan match bundle.

However, the World Cup is incomplete without loud, deafening crowds and jam-packed stadiums. All of Team India’s matches sold out, and the Men in Blue played at each of the 10 venues, ensuring all involved state boards got the opportunity to host matches at maximum capacity.

The sale of tickets is a significant component of the revenue division. The International Cricket Council (ICC) has said that a record 12.5 lakh attended the matches from the stands during the 2023 World Cup. The revenue generated was substantial, with estimates suggesting that ticket sales contributed around ₹2,000 crore to the overall earnings from the tournament.

Thousands of fans travelled across the country, through roads, aeroplanes, and trains, to catch a glimpse of the live action. They booked accommodations, ate local cuisines, and paid for the hard-to-get match tickets, ranging from ₹500 to ₹40,000-50,000. There were reports of some match tickets on sale in secondary markets, especially for anticipated games such as the one between India and Pakistan, for over ₹3-4 lakh.

India had already hosted the G-20 summit on the 9th and 10th of September 2023, boosting the hospitality, transport and aviation sectors, with people, dignitaries, delegates, and other foreign ambassadors travelling all over. Soon, airfares skyrocketed even more from the already high levels as people started booking their flights for these cricket matches, serendipitously so with the onset of the festival season in India.

IndiGo, a dominant player in the Indian aviation sector, reported a 20% increase in bookings for October and November compared to the previous year. Airline stocks IndiGo and SpiceJet saw positive market movements.

Domestic travel rose significantly in September and October. Sites like and Make My Trip reported a surge in bookings of flights and accommodations as well.

Sales of cricket-related merchandise rose, too. The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) projected the sale of such merchandise to increase by 30% during the Cricket World Cup 2023. Retail sales rose by approximately ₹2000 crores; local economies benefited greatly.

Sales of FMCG were up nearly 5% in September versus a year ago. People watching matches at home ordered food and beverages, leading to a spike in orders on food delivery platforms. Companies like Swiggy and Zomato offered special World Cup deals and combos, catering to the increased demand. There was an increase in sales of electronics such as televisions. Demand was noticeably higher for large-screen televisions as more people prefer them to watch the ongoing cricket World Cup. People seemed to be in the mood to spend. A report by PTI (Press Trust of India- the premier news agency in India) states that the appliance and consumer electronics sector is poised to surpass ₹70,000 crore in sales this year; two crucial factors aiding this growth: the multiple festivals (Onam, Ganesh Chaturthi, Durga Puja, and Diwali) and the World Cup.

The World Cup has been something that has added to the festivities in the country during the already ongoing festive season. The World Cup in India was a high-risk-high reward as it greatly depended upon the performance of the Men in Blue. Although India failed to reach the apex, reaching the finals maximised all revenue prospects except for the winning cash prize. Loads of companies, be it international giants in the forms of sponsors or local small businesses in cities where India played, benefited and made large profits spanning multiple industries. However, aside from all the economic factors, the World Cup was nothing less than a fervent celebration; united in diversity, cricket fanatics savoured the campaigns of their teams while enjoying this festival of the 'gentleman's game'. The World Cup proved yet again that it is not just a mere sporting event but a profound testament to the intertwined relationship between sports, culture, and economics.

By Arnav Gupta


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