Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Sanspareils Greenlands: Without Parallel

Brand : Sanspareils Greenlands
Company : Sanspareils Greenlands Ltd

Brand Count : 185

Many of us may not be familiar with the brand Sanspareils Greenlands but may be familiar with SG cricket bats. Sanspareils Greenlands ( SG) is the market leader in the cricket bat and cricket related accessories in India. Sanspareils is a french word meaning " Without Parallel "

The Indian Domestic sports goods market is worth around Rs 200 crore and has all the potential to grow in the coming decade. Cricket related products contributes to around 70% of the total market. The market is mainly considered as a cottage/small scale with the industry concentrated mainly on Northern India.The export market is much larger with an approximate figure of Rs 300 crore. SG is the largest exporter of cricket goods in India.

SG came into existence in 1932. The brand was primarily concentrated on exports and only in 1982, the company began selling in India under the brand name SG. SG is also the only authorised supplier of cricket balls to BCCI in the domestic circuit.But SG cricket balls are facing the end of the road because of the competition from the world leader " Kookaburra".

SG shot into prominence as the brand used by the Little Master Sunil Gavaskar. Gavasker used SG bats all through his long illustrious career. SG rode on the success of Gavaskar and introduced Sunny Tonny Range of cricket bats endorsed by Gavaskar.The bat became instant hit with the cricket fans in India.
Cricket bats are primarily made from English Willows. There are many types and specifications of bats and most of the professional bats are customised. The one and the only way to build a brand in cricket bats and accessories is to get a cricket star to use the bat. Sunil Gavasker has helped SG to stay on top of consumer minds for a long time.

roped in The power of the cricket star is so immense that it even results in new business venture for a company. The company in case is MRF which is a company manufacturing Tyres. MRF roped in Sachin Tendulkar to endorse its range of tyres and paid a huge amount of money to feature the brand in Sachin's bat. At that time MRF was not into bat making. It was a smart move to keep the brand on India's most loved cricket player's bat. MRF is also one of the first brand to feature in a cricketer's bat. Seeing MRF logo in bats, there was a flood of queries at sports good stores for MRF bats. Eventually MRF ventured into Bat making/marketing to tap the potential.At that time there was a regulation from Cricket board that non sports brand cannot feature on cricket bats. That also fueled the venture. Now MRF bats are endorsed by Lara, Waugh and Sachin.

Now many brands have started featuring in cricketer's bats. This has pushed up the cost of endorsement to as high as Rs 3 crore per year. But the investment is worth a hundred TVCs if the player is on form. But in the case of failing stars like Sourav and Sewag, the brand stays on the pitch for less than 2 minutes which makes the promotion a costly affair.

This new trend of non sports brand endorsing cricket bats is a setback for brands like SG. Traditionally these brands relied on the players for brand building and seldom do these brand advertise in the media. There is a chance that marketers will start buying " SPACE" on helmets and pads in the near future. That makes the cricket player look like a playing Hoarding. The cricket control boards will also be happy as long as their cash register is ringing.
Besides the marketing issues , another issue that affects SG most is the proliferation of cheap and fake products. Other than the professional players, the normal consumer is price conscious and will not pay much for a cricket bat/accessories.

The brighter side is that with the popularity of cricket touching the levels of religion, the cricket related products will do well. But the market despite the immense potential is small because of the basic lifestyle of Indians. Here unlike the west, Sports are considered as a waste of time.Parents restrict their kids from taking too much interest in playing any kind of sports. Our educational institutions also lack the proper set up for encouraging sports related activities. Hence the people who involve in sports are restricted to two groups
a. Those who want to take sports as career
b. Those youngsters who like to play. These youngsters stop their sports activities when they get a job/get married.
Those who play after reaching 30 years is small in number. That is the TG which have a lot of money to spend. Sadly sports marketers don't target this group.
Sports marketers should try to market SPORTS as a way of life and a way for keeping you healthy . Unless and until that happens, the market is going to be small.

Related Brands
Proline
Gatorade

Sources: SG website, eximbank report, sportstar
image courtsy: SG website