Tuesday 4 August 2009

Cost-benefit analysis

Stephon Marbury isn't famous in Britain, but he's a pretty useful NBA basketball player who did something that made a difference to his sport. Growing up he couldn't afford expensive branded shoes, so when he made it, he launched his own line, Starbury. They retailed at $14.98. Marbury didn't just endorse them, he wore them when he played. 

'If you take my shoe and a $150 shoe and cut it down in half, it does exactly the same thing,' he said.

Cricket bats don't really equate to basketball shoes. The quality and rarity of the wood, the skill of the batmaker, the intrinsic individuality, prevent it. But there's probably a similar emotional investment. And there's a certain similarity to the financial investment, too. Today I made a random, ad hoc chart of bats used and/or endorsed by Ashes players*:

Ricky Ponting Kookaburra Kahuna: £342.99

Gunn & Moore Icon DXM [Ravi Bopara]: £334.99

Adidas Pellara Elite [Kevin Pietersen]: £329.99

Adidas Incurza Elite [Ian Bell]: £329.99

Gray-Nicolls Ignite Pro-Performance [Andrew Strauss]: £324.99

Puma Iridium GTR [Andrew Flintoff]: £320.00

All of those manufacturers offer cheaper versions, made of lesser wood. But there are plenty of smaller batmakers who will make the equivalent for less, it's just that the players don't endorse them.

This isn't a criticism per se. The best are entitled to the best, and to the commercial opportunity. But imagine if someone like Marbury walked out in a Test match with something a little different.

* Stated recommended retail prices. Most shops knock a sizeable chunk off. 


Jrod said...

Should the batsman who does this appear on live television coked out to flog the shoes like Marbury did?

The Old Batsman said...

the day there's a TV ad for a cricket bat, I suggest we all get stoned...

Ceci said...

Out of interest OB - what makes a non professional player buy a particular new bat - cost? brand? weight of advertising?

The Old Batsman said...

Good question - will post my thoughts... and then I WILL stop droning on about bats...

Anonymous said...

Ceci, Depends on the level of player. Alot of players pick a bat based on the famous batsman who uses it. The next level up is the guys who go for weight. And the level after that is often the guys who like grain and bat shape.