The Indian Premier League (IPL) is not just about high octane action, towering sixes and carnival time;
above all it’s a money-spinner. With an assured broadcast right of Rs 104 crore per match, it has overtaken the famed English Premier League (EPL). Interestingly, the IPL, which was started by Lalit Modi in 2008, was modelled on the lines of the EPL and its phenomenal growth is nothing short of a miracle.
In the cut-throat world of blue riband sports events, the IPL has overtaken even the world famous National Basketball League (NBA). If one were to do the money- crunching over the broadcast rights of the IPL for the next five years, it’s Rs 43,030 crore to the BCCI only – a staggering amount indeed!
It is tempting to ascertain the factors why the IPL attracts so much sponsorship and brand value. This newspaper spoke to a cross-section of people – cricketers, journalists and brand gurus – in an attempt to decipher the all-round money splurge in this cricket bonanza.
First and foremost, the credit has to be given to the BCCI for the manner in which it went about promoting and encouraging the IPL. “Under the leadership of Mr Jay Shah (BCCI Secretary) and Sourav Ganguly (BCCI President) the duo has managed to inject the much-needed confidence that brands have in the IPL.,” says Rajendra Amarnath, a former cricketer. “The Shah-Ganguly duo has gone out of their way in ensuring that the IPL garners as much media publicity as well as endorsement from the players,” he said.
The decision to bring in two more teams and make it a 10-team format has also resulted in the moolah flowing, feels R Prasad, a former BCCI functionary. Previously, all editions of the IPL were restricted to 8 teams playing each other on a round robin basis. The 2022 edition saw the induction of two new teams (making it 10 teams). “This was a masterstroke by the BCCI as they got a huge amount franchise money for the two new teams (Gujarat Titans and Lucknow Super Giants).
A peek at the amount the BCCI got with the induction of Gujarat Titans (Rs 5,625 crore) and Lucknow Super Giants (Rs 7,090 crore) reveals the story,” says Prasad.
As a result of 10 teams now competing, there is an increase in the number of matches being played at the IPL. Currently 74 matches are played in this new format as against 60 matches in the eight-team format.
This increase of 14 matches has had a windfall of media and broadcasting rights as the sponsors and other associates have a longer window to showcase their products and brands. This invariably leads to much more branding and media rights money for the Board,” quips a marketing expert who preferred to remain anonymous.
There is another paradigm shift in the viewing of IPL that has changed the dynamics. Streaming of matches has emerged as a more powerful medium than TV telecast—a fact which was endorsed during the recent media rights auctioning. Viacom 18 paid a whopping Rs 23,758 crore to bag the digital rights for the next five years. In contrast, DisneyStar won the telecast rights with a bid of Rs 23,575 crore, thus revealing the power of digital media.
Ram Bhardwaj, a Mumbaibased digital expert, feels that the innovation and recreating special effects have increased the streaming industry in IPL. “Companies realised the importance of innovation during both the phases of Covid-19 where spectators were not allowed. As a result, spectators now prefer to watch the matches on smartphones and also opt for more streaming as opposed to telecast,” opined Bhardwaj.
All said and done, IPL is here to stay and has emerged as a beacon for all successful franchise-based sports events across the world.