SRK worked his money magic on Knight Riders

Last Updated: Tue, Jun 10, 2008 09:12 hrs

The IPL hangover continues and so it shall for some time to come. While the news for many of top performers is great as some find a place in the national side soon after the seven-week jamboree, the bigger question is who has made money and who did not.

Armchair critics and economists, have via pink newspapers and magazines declared that Shah Rukh Khan alone made money in the first season. For obvious reasons, it is hard to refer to the team as Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) instead of SRK's team! Maybe that is reason enough to see why, if he has, made profits in the very first season.

It would be no surprise if SRK-KKR go in for an IPO in the near future, maybe as soon as the third season. By which time, he may even have ensured that the team performs and wins.

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There is talk that most promotional appearances SRK made in recent weeks were credited as KKR's income. SRK's time was seen as a major source of revenue for KKR. Nothing wrong, for he as part-owner is among those responsible for the revenues.

While every other owner was trying to talk of extra expenditures they had to incur and the concessions they were unable to get from various authorities, SRK focused on what was in his hands. He had once jokingly - that's what we then thought - said that if his team required he would do a few extra dances. That's what it seems he has done to turn figures on the balance sheet from red to black.

True, he may have bought the team because he wanted to do it for his kids, but it is obvious SRK-KKR were very keen to make a strong beginning as far as the business is concerned. It would give them the first-mover advantage and the masses would obviously love to have a piece of SRK or at least a piece of KKR.

So, KKR's merchandise was available all over the country and, as the cliché goes, it sold like hot cakes.

Each individual franchisee is still talking about how well tickets sold for their matches against KKR. Why? Because the masses can never have enough of SRK and kept expecting him to put in an appearance.

Now that we know or at least have been told that SRK-KKR made money in the first year, it is clear that performance - an area KKR were found somewhat deficient - does matter but even more important is marketing: an area where SRK is a master. SRK never waits for things to happen. He makes them happen.

And when other teams want to keep the crowds engaged it is SRK's film and title song "Chak De! India" that they rely on - even in the Reliance Zone in Mumbai!

Just see how he markets his films. He is better than the best marketing manager. He is at the right place at the right time - even in the balcony with the Indian team at the T20 winning parties. If his team had won the IPL, it would have helped.

Which brings to the issue of performance. Shane Watson, long injury-prone, was able to convince the Aussie selectors of his ability to string together a series of fine showings and find a berth into the Australian side for the tour to the West Indies. The Player of the Tournament replaced Matthew Hayden and could well become the future star.

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In India, Yousuf Pathan, always referred to as Irfan's brother, was suddenly a star in his own right and Manpreet Gony, seen as one whose surname rhymed with the Indian skipper's name, was now the logical replacement for S. Sreesanth, who was ruled out after suffering a side strain.

Watson, Yousuf and Gony are no newcomers. Yousuf was a member of the Indian team to the T20 World Cup; Gony had a remarkable stint in the Deodhar Trophy and Watson was always seen as a future prospect. It is just that the IPL provided an ideal platform and confirmed their potential.

Stay tuned in, there's much more to come in from the IPL stable.