Cricket enjoys the strongest base in India. But one business aspect that South Africa’s Northern Cricket Union launched last week has hitherto been unexploited in the organized sector for sport’s equipment and gear in the country.
Northern Cricket Union has launched their new range of ‘Little Titans’ cricket equipment for aspiring young cricket players. The equipment are specifically designed for children aged five to eight, with the aim of facilitating the transition from soft to hard ball cricket.
“Existing equipment is costly and oversized, and therefore restricts movement and creates challenges for young children wishing to enter the game,” said Johan Muller, NCU Operations Manager. “By providing affordable equipment we are hoping to encourage participation in cricket, while promoting a healthy and active lifestyle among children of early age groups.”
This is a good cue for IPL franchisees, too. This one aspect of the business has been very minimal in the Indian market. Merchandising industry in India is at a very nascent stage. There is a lack of innovation and disruption in this space.
In an event like IPL, which has over eight franchisees based teams has the most underserviced merchandise programme. There is a lot that the IPL teams can learn from the initiatives such as the NCU’s. While many are of the opinion that the merchandising business poses the challenge of piracy and cost in India, the grassroots development programmes along with the branding will surely help to disrupt the market space in India.
The Indian sports industry is growing at a very rapid pace and if franchisees can take learning from such initiatives then this would be a great space to exploit with a noble cause of providing the young kids with affordable branded equipment during their transition period.
NCU is the member union of the northernmost top-level cricket franchise in South Africa, The Titans. To expand the franchisee base as a brand amongst the youth and young players NCU identified the need to create equipment that is affordable and exclusive to the brand itself.
Titans limited-overs captain, Albie Morkel, said, “It’s important to introduce children to the sport early on. There are so many opportunities and initiatives, like the Little Titans, where you can get them involved. It starts at a young age, and they’ll grow and go on to love the game.”