Recently, during the third season of the Indian Premier League (IPL), the government hiked taxes on it. There was a lot of criticism about this move, especially from cricket associations, the IPL organizers and sponsors, cricketers, companies affiliated to the IPL and cricket fans. However, the increase in the tax is justified.
Cricket in India, since its coming onto television has picked up a lot of support and popularity. Today, if there is going to be a major cricket match, the whole of India would be watching it with a lot of interest. It is common in India to see streets deserted and crowds of people near a TV when there is a cricket match, especially in one which India plays.
Cricketers in India have got so much popularity and their earnings go to such phenomenal figures. This immense popularity of cricket makes people willing to spend their money on cricket. Cricket in India today has become extremely commercialized. IPL is the best example of this. There is so much money invested in the IPL. Sponsors wait in lines to sponsor the teams. Not only do the people at IPL manage to make money, there are other companies capitalizing on the IPL and squeezing money out of it.
You may begin with the channels that air the matches live on their channels. They pay stupendous amounts of money to get the airing rights. The channels then set slots to advertisements during breaks from which most of their income comes. Most channels which air the matches live also take a fee from the viewers of the channels to watch the match. And viewers are ready to pay whatever the amount they ask for in order to watch these matches.
Many advertisements even endorse cricketers for their advertisements in order to give it more appeal. It is an extremely good sales trick. These sort of advertisements are able to bring in huge amount of sales and it benefits these companies greatly. Here, not only the company has a good return as a result of highly increased sales, but the cricketers also earn a lot more money and get even more popularity.
Is this not a reason good enough to charge more tax? When there is so much money in the cricket business where amounts go to hundreds of crores of rupees, is it not justified?
Tax must be levied. In fact, it must be levied heavily on cricket. Cricket provides entertainment to the people and thus entertainment tax must be heavily levied. Cricket must pay for the negligence of other sports. Most other sports in India are ignored due to the over glorification of cricket.
The proceeds from charging tax from cricket can pay to improve the facilities of other sports. The money can be used to make new stadiums, renovate, upgrade and maintain old ones, buying world-class equipment, paying higher salaries of other sportsmen, employing better coaches and other activities which can transform our country into a sports superpower.
[Image courtesy: http://tanamania.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/indian-cricket-team-players-celebrate-while-holding-the-icc-world-twenty20-trophy.jpg]