A $600,000 Pitbull: Was it worth it for the IPL?

Pitbull cost the IPL a reputed $600,000 dollars. No wonder he said he loved India. By the way, Beyonc didn't charge the NFL for performing at the Superbowl. Despite all its superstars, the IPL ain't no Superbowl.

Sandip Roy April 03, 2013 15:15:16 IST
A $600,000 Pitbull: Was it worth it for the IPL?

Jennifer Lopez was too expensive for the IPL. So they got Pitbull instead for a reputed $600,000. No wonder he said he was thrilled to be in India despite the sweltering Kolkata weather.

Big stars and sporting events can be a hot combo. The F1 had Lady Gaga. The Superbowl 2013 had Beyonc. Beyonc, by the way, did not charge a penny to perform at the SuperBowl halftime show in America.

"We do not pay," NFL spokesperson Greg McCarthy told Forbes."We cover all expenses associated with the performance."

That can add up to a tidy sum but it still proves something about the Superbowl that a superstar gives her time for free. And it's not for a worthy cause that will give them Nobel Peace Prize credibility like starving children in Ethiopia. But it's worth it for Beyonc or Madonna or the Black Eyed Peas to perform for free because it's the most-watched musical event of the year. Nielsen estimated 108.41 million watched Beyonc's 14-minute gig at the games. Only Madonna has done better with 112.5 million in 2012. Forbes said when Madonna performed at the Superbowl, sales of her old classics such as Like a Prayer jumped 2,437 percent.

Who knows what IPL will do for Pitbull. But it just showed that despite all the razzmatazz of its superstars, the IPL is no Superbowl. The opening night, despite Shah Rukh Khan's breathless hoohah about duniya ke sabse bada musician(Pitbull), our "greatest musical talents" (Bappi Lahiri and Usha Uthup) and King Khan himself, proved one thing - size doesn't always matter and a lot of sound and fury can signify little.

A 600000 Pitbull Was it worth it for the IPL

Pitbull performing at the IPL 6 Opening Nite. PTI

IPL6 is, for the first time ever, cutting ad rates, by up to 20 percent because it didn't get enough advertising last year. Rohit Gupta, president for Network Sales at Multi Screen Media Pvt. Ltd. said 20 percent of television advertisements were unsold during IPL 2012. This means ads that went for 5 lakhs and above could cost a lakh less. IPL6 hopes the addition of a team from Hyderabad will bring in more viewers. But the TRP of IPL has been on a downward slide as the novelty wears off - IPL 1 was 4.81, IPL 2 was 4.17. IPL 5 was 3.27.

So is such a big bash of an opening all about celebrating the grand success of the IPL concept or a desperate attempt to create enough buzz to persuade viewers to not change the channel in coming weeks?

Either way, what's the point of shipping in a Pitbull from a country that plays baseball to ratchet up cricketing fever in India? "It's going crazy here," gushed the hyper-ventilating permanently beaming television anchor while all the visuals on the screen showed a lot of politely befuddled Kolkatans watching a stocky bald man stick his tongue out lascviciously and thrust his pelvis on stage.

"India ke 600,000$ gaye paani mein" tweeted @aam_aadmee. But GreatBong blogged that at least "Pitbull and his Bald Headed League of Bob Christo Fans" made better financial sense than some other IPL investments.

Pitbull provides as much value for his Put-Bill amount of $600,000 as the marginally more expensive ($650,000) Mashrafe Mortaza did for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the 2009 series with his 21-runs-giving last over to Rohit Sharma.

"Itne paise mein itna hi hota hai, yaar" quipped Shah Rukh Khan bringing the show to a close as he hoped "this happiness spreads to West Bengal and to the rest of India" from the City of Joy.

We can get into endless debates about what $600,000, even from a private sports franchise, could be better used for. But that aside, why does the IPL even need a separate standalone opening ceremony? The Superbowl just has a half-time show. Why does the IPL have an Olympics complex?

A flashy kick-off creates a buzz. Sure. And a sports event that goes on for weeks needs that buzz. But does it need to buy a JLo or a Pitbull to show off its brand value? But IPL's suits should remember that a star's stardom does not always rub off on the sport. Everyone remembers Lady Gaga and her phallic microphone at the Formula One after party in India. But few remember what happened in the actual Grand Prix.

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