How IPL became the 3rd most expensive sports property in the world…

The IPL, in money terms, is now 0.6% of India’s Gross Domestic Product. As a brand, it’s now worth $5,500 million.

e4m by Ruhail Amin
Published: Sep 5, 2017 7:55 AM  | 3 min read

With Star India acquiring the Indian Premier League (IPL) media rights with a consolidated bid of Rs 16,347.5 crore, IPL has come at par with the cash-rich leagues of the world like the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the English Premier League (EPL). 


Having pocketed a neat Rs 16K plus crore, the Indian Premier League franchise, according to the BCCI’s annual report, grew at 300% in 2015/16, while Manchester United’s growth rate was 204%. The IPL, in money terms, is now 0.6% of India’s Gross Domestic Product. As a brand it’s now worth $5,500 million.


A complete entertainment package


The league has continued to grow since its debut year of 2008 despite being beset with few controversies. The BCCI claimed the television viewing figures passed 100 million in 2016, making it one of the most viewed games in the world.


It is often said that India has two additional religions: cricket and Bollywood. Both the forms of entertainment draw huge public support. The clever thing that IPL did was to combine the two. It was always marketed as ‘cricketainment’ which helped it become the cricketing giant that it is today.


Some observers say that by combining film stars and sporting icons, IPL offers a complete family package as there's something in it for everyone. Moreover, the IPL has bulldozed its way into the two most profitable months (given school vacations are on and advertisers are more inclined to spend at the start of the financial year) of the most lucrative cricket market.


Captive audience for brands


With its massive viewership base, IPL provides an easy connect between brands and consumers. With the kind of brand value and reach that IPL has achieved over a decade, it’s no surprise that it has become the favourite launch pad for brands to leverage at a premium cost—a phenomenon similar to the Super Bowl in the US. For instance, in the tenth season, Amazon India, Vodafone, Pepsi, Maruti Suzuki and Parle rolled out their campaigns especially for the league.


What also attracts brands to this platform is the sure shot way to maximize ROI. The brand recall that IPL offers is unparalleled. Two of the glaring examples are Vivo and OPPO. These Chinese mobile manufacturers were unknown few years ago but thanks to IPL both brands have become household names. The fact that IPL can make such mass marketing possible makes it an attractive platform for brands irrespective of the cost factor.


Speaking about how IPL will continue to stay relevant for brands for the years to come despite the growth of other sporting leagues, Saurabh Uboweja, Founder, CEO & Chief Brand Strategist, Brands of Desire said, “IPL will continue to be important for the Indian audience. IPL is India's most valuable sporting brand and now competes successfully with the top 10 sporting leagues of the world in terms of viewership, brand valuation, media rights and marketing rights. The popularity of IPL is unlikely to wane over the next five years; rather the success of IPL will inspire other sporting leagues in the country as it has already done and will do good to the overall sporting infrastructure of the nation. The competition from other sports will be positive competition; India needs at least five other IPL-like leagues to positively impact the sports culture of the country.”


Underlining the fact that IPL is going to be fuelled by raw money-power from now on, Harish Bijoor, Founder, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc. stated, “The money generated in terms of IPL broadcast rights will wake up all and sundry. The ambitions are going to grow exponentially. At this stage of the evolution of the sport format of IPL cricket, greed is good. You will see a lot of it around.”

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