Name of the intern: – Karthik
Institute: – Faculty of Management Studies, New Delhi
Organization interned with: – Kings XI Punjab
Second day into the office, I was excited and tensed. “Will I get a chance to meet him?”, “What should I speak?” were the questions that probed me throughout the night before. And finally when I met him, I was dumbstruck. I even forgot to wish him back. Yes, I met Adam Gilchrist during our first press conference of the season.
Hi all, in the next few minutes, I will walk you through my summer’s journey with Kings XI Punjab. I will be using “mono-myth” way of screenplay writing to take you through my journey. This method has a more colloquial name “The Hero’s Journey”.
Chapter 1: Acceptance of challenge: Many of my batch mates, including me, thought, “What will I do?” Given that I am a south Indian joining a Punjabi team, I was clueless for 6 months about what I will be doing. The expectations ranged from carrying cool drinks for players to dancing with models during IPL parties. So, I took the exciting challenge of joining Kings XI Punjab 24 hours after our end semester exams to join the bandwagon of IPL.
Chapter 2: The Road of Trials: The clock was ticking. We had 10 days to get ready for our first home match. This typically included getting the stadium ready, branding the stadium, in-stadium entertainment (read cheerleaders and others) and digital marketing. We were completely occupied by these three major deliverables for 12 days straight including Sundays. I narrowly missed the opportunity of assisting in cheerleader coordination (life is not fair) and ended up dealing with labourers and making them work. My proficiency in Hindi gave them enough comic relief during work and some difficulty in understanding the work. We were proud that we got the stadium ready 2 days before the match. God had his tongue in his cheek meanwhile: there was rain which washed away half the branding and made a mess of the stadium. So, we had to do whatever we did in the last 4 days in just one day. We had to do it. 30,000 fans would come to watch this and 100 times that number of people would watch it on TV.
Meanwhile in marketing, we had to coordinate with the creative agencies, PR agencies and sponsors to get everything integrated and updated on the internet. We lost our first 2 away matches which resulted in lukewarm response on internet and in ticket sales for our 1st home match. Meanwhile, I proposed a set of marketing ideas. Then I had my “flat tire moment”, the moment during which higher management flattens your gas filled brain. Sports marketing is not that simple and especially not if it is the initial phase of establishing a franchise.
Match Day: On match days, we were assigned gate manager duty. The task was simple. Fight with the police, avoid illegal entries and ensure smooth hospitality at one of the stands. I chose the highest capacity stand which has a capacity of 6000. Most of the illegal entries came from the police side. We would try to stop them using our power and if we failed, we called the DSP. It was a difficult task, given the number of police trying to enter. They woo you to get you into fights. I almost slapped a cop. And then there are hundreds of people who request and pester you to allow them. It might seem very obvious that you had to politely decline them. But it was equally obvious that you cannot handle 100 such cases in an hour. So, I ended up meeting hundreds of cops, thousands of people, a decent percentage of who swore Madrasi, Pakistani and all popular Punjabi specials. After those hours of madness, when your team wins making everyone happy, you forget all this. We partied till late in the night and got our first holiday.
Chapter 3: Achievement of a Goal: We did the same things for the remaining 5 matches we had in Mohali. With each match, the efficiency and experience increased. During this time I met many people, including some who were working for other sports companies. I got to know the scope of business in sports industry and about the plethora of opportunities available in this industry. I also came to know more about IPL, marketing, event management, butter chicken and dealing with people. I learnt some sports marketing which is a terrific, interesting and challenging task.
Celebration of the Goal (IPL Parties): Contrary to many people’s perception, IPL parties are very professional and are fun at the same time. They were quite simple with model ramp shows, cheer leader dance shows, lots of celebrities and cricket players. I was busy watching people like Dr. Vijay Mallya, Sid Mallya and cricketers like Zak, then a person passes just beside you and you realize he is AB. I got to meet many players, had snaps with some of them including Vettori, Hussey, and some cheerleaders. Besides the IPL parties, we had many other parties.
Then we had to move to Dharmashala. We had to do everything in just 2 days. Given the experience, we had carried out everything smoothly and always finished our work before time, just to spend the remaining time in those beautiful hills. It was more like a paid holiday (in fact, a double paid holiday) and our victory against Chennai in the penultimate match electrified the camp. We needed only one victory to make it to playoffs. But losing the last match and our consequent elimination dampened the mood. We were busy for the next one week in preparing reports about activities we did and their effectiveness. I learnt more about the company during this.
Chapter 4: Return to the Ordinary World: So, after an emotional adios with the team, I am back to normal college life and fully geared up for the corporate life, armed with tons of learning from a niche industry with lots of goodies to show off.
Chapter 5: Using What I Learnt: The internship experience, though relatively less pertinent in the short run compared to others, is one thing that I will cherish for a long time to come especially the little chit chat I had with one inspirational sportsperson Adam Gilchrist. There is a lot one can learn from a sports team and cricketers. The amount of hard work they put in, the kind of passion and team spirit they possess are terrific. Everyone is happy about his job which is a little difficult to see in the corporate world. The hostel that I stayed in Mohali was in itself a memorable experience. I shared my room with 4 other people, all of them U-19 players who came from different parts of North India. The kind of dedication they had made me wish for at least 10% of it. It is always great to see people who take risks to fulfil their passion. To succeed, one eventually has to take risks if he/she wants to follow his/her true passion and I hope that I will do it one day.
PS: There are many people who are mad about cricket in India. Those who climb a 50m hill to enter a stadium, who travel across states to watch a match. So, is there a future for IPL and the endless business opportunities it provides?
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