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How The IPL Rose To Become One Of The Most Valuable Sports Leagues In The World

Without the prestige and history of other established competitions, the IPL has seen an astronomical rise in just over a decade. In 2019, a report from Duff & Phelps valued the competition at $6.3 billion. That would make it the first non-American brand in the most valuable sports leagues worldwide. That estimate sees it top the likes of the English Premier League ($5.3bn), NFL ($4.4bn) and AFL ($2.5bn).


In the sporting world, Twenty20 (T20) cricket is a relative newcomer. Established as a format in 2003, the shortest form of top-level cricket was designed to attract a new audience. With matches lasting three to four hours, it has proved a successful strategy. Domestic T20 tournaments have developed all over the world, but none of them as successful as the Indian Premier League, better known as the IPL.



How The IPL Holds The Attention Of A Nation


It’s fair to say that India stops when the IPL action begins every spring. Star India paid over $2.5bn to broadcast five seasons of the competition, starting in 2018. For a tournament that only last around 47 days and has just eight teams, the broadcast window is relatively short but extremely valuable. 


Many brands and companies pay a premium to market their products and services to such a sizable captive audience. And with so many passionate cricket fans around the country, the attention doesn’t stop with just watching the games. As you’d expect from a high-profile competition, betting on the IPL is huge for cricket fans in India. Moreover, the betting sites for the Indian Premier League offer dozens of attractive markets before the action begins and hundreds for each game as the tournament draws nearer. They cover long-term wagers such as who will win the competition or win the Orange Cap for scoring the most runs, including short-term wagers such as Man of the Match which are very popular among bettors.


The 2019 edition of the competition broke every record in the books. Star expanded the IPL coverage to include eight languages via 24 channels. This resulted in a total of 462 million viewers in India, which was is a 12% increase from 2018. Worldwide mobile broadcaster Hotstar also set a new record with over 18 million concurrent streams on the 2018 final between Chennai Super Kings and eventual champions Mumbai Indians. 


Onwards And Upwards: The IPL’s Astronomical Growth Since 2008


Although the 2020 edition of the IPL is still uncertain, the overall brand shows little sign of slowing down. Understandably, the prospect of another cricket competition in India was always going to be a popular one. The tournament attracts the world’s best overseas players as well as India’s international stars including Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah.


Cricket is the country’s national sport, but considering the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) were relatively late to the T20 party, it’s been an astronomical rise. 


The original eight IPL franchises were available to buy in 2008. Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad all broke the $100 million barriers at that stage. The winnings bids often came from Indian businesses and groups involving high-profile celebrities, such as Bollywood star Preity Zita. Attempts at expansion have failed mainly with seven of the eight current teams being those that began in 2008. The other – Hyderabad Sunrisers – being formed from the downfall of the other original franchise, Deccan Chargers, in 2013.


Current IPL Franchise Owners


  • Chennai Super Kings (CSK) – India Cements

  • Delhi Capitals (DC) – GMR Group/JSW Group

  • Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) – KPH Dream Cricket

  • Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) – Red Chillies Entertainment/Mehta Group

  • Mumbai Indians (MI) – Reliance Industries 

  • Rajasthan Royals (RR) – Manoj Badale

  • Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) – United Spirits (Diageo PLC)

  • Sunrises Hyderabad (SRH) – Sun TV Network

The value of individual teams has remained mostly static – albeit there is movement year-to-year based on their on-field performance. Four-time champions Mumbai Indians were adjudged to be the most valuable franchise in 2019, with a brand value of approximately $107 million. The IPL’s Ecosystem was valued at $3.2 billion in 2014, so it has almost doubled until 2019. The substantial growth has come courtesy of the IPL becoming a more valuable commodity to broadcasters and advertisers.