Fast-becoming one of world sport’s most popular events, the IPL’s 11% year-on-year growth since it first took place in 2008, makes it one of the fastest growing brands on the planet.
Now into its 13th year, the gathering momentum the Indian Premier League has been generating over the last decade has given the tournament status as one of the most powerful sporting events in the world, with high-profile sponsors, advertisers, broadcasters and investors clamouring to get a piece of the pie from all over the world.
Thirty years ago English football witnessed a similar explosion in popularity as the launch of the Premier League brought the best players from around the world to the UK and turned the the top division into the most-watched football league in the world.
Here, with the help of figures from Brand Equity’s 2019 report into values across a numbers of sports, Cricket Bet India looks at the potential growth in the IPL over the next few years to examine just how far it can go and whether it can topple the EPL in terms of value, broadcasting deals, crowd numbers and online.
The announcement that really made the sporting world sit up and start to accept the IPL as one of the biggest sporting events in the world was Star India’s $2.55 billion purchase of the television and digital rights three years ago.
The bid from the company – who are a subsidiary of 21st Century Fox – represented a huge increase from the deal which was held by Sony, worth $1b. Not only that, but Star India also saw off fierce competition for the rights to broadcast the Indian Premier League from 2018 to 2022 from media giants such as Sony, SuperSport, Airtel, Bamtech, Jio and Facebook.
With 60 Indian Premier League matches per season, the deal means that Star India will be shelling out a massive £6.57m per match and that for the first time ever, a single Indian Premier League fixture will be worth more than a home international for the India men’s team.
So how does that compare to the Premier League? Currently, the Premier League’s set of global broadcasting rights is worth £8.4b over three years, meaning a single match during a Premier League campaign is valued at £7.37m.
As the data suggests, the Premier League rights are currently much higher but if you examine the figures over the duration of the tournament – with the IPL lasts just seven weeks to the EPL’s 42 – the figures become much closer, with the IPL worth just £1m less than the EPL per week of their respective seasons.
— Lalit Kumar Modi (@LalitKModi) September 4, 2017
The 2019 viewing figures for the Indian Premier League provide clear evidence of why so many broadcasters were willing to pay big bucks to secure the rights to the next five years.
Over the first four weeks of the 2019 IPL a staggering 462m viewers tuned in to matches – an increase of 48m on the previous year. With three hours of coverage per match, total consumption of IPL matches totalled 338b minutes (up from 300b in 2018), while the reach of Star India’s digital media means they total over 300m viewers throughout the seven weeks the tournament runs – peaking at 18.6 million viewers for the final.
This increase in viewership is also reflected in the Premier League, cumulative viewing figures were up 11% to 1.35b across 188 of the world’s 193 countries, averaging out at 3.42m per match – which is considerably lower than the 7.7 million average viewership for an IPL match.
The two leagues also have significant digital followings, with a study by KPMG carried out in 2019 revealing the Indian Premier League had moved into the top 10 most-followed sports competitions in the world.
Unsurprisingly, as the only cricket tournament in the top 10, the IPL has an engaged following of 31m people across its Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube accounts, compared to the Premier League who sit third in the list with 95m . However, when you add in the total followers across the eight franchises as well, the total becomes a massive 65.3m (an average of 8.16m per franchise).
But it’s not just the franchises that profit from the tournament, with brands using the annual event as a primary time to advertise. Tournament sponsor Vivo scored 26.137m engagements (likes, shares, comments) during the 2017 tournament, nearly 4.5m engagements more than the second most profitable company Vodafone, while Make My Trip, Reliance Jio and Amazon all enjoyed huge numbers during the tournament.
If you’re looking for evidence of the importance the IPL has to sponsors, look no further than the steady increase in sponsorship fees of the tournament since it began. In 2008, DLF paid $6.5m to sponsor the first four years of the tournament but by the time Pepsi took over in 2013, the title sponsorship fee had risen to $10m and current sponsors Vivo spent almost $59m to sponsor the tournaments from 2017 to 2022.
When it comes to crowd sizes, the Indian Premier League just about edges the English Premier League, despite the differing ranges of stadium capacities.
If we were to take an average stadium size for each tournament, we’d be looking at an average capacity for IPL matches of 40,250, and for the EPL the average is 38,880, and this is reflected with average attendances with the cricket tournament averaging 39,779 per games in 2019 compared to 39,312 in the football.
Historically, the IPL has always enjoyed high crowd figures and since its inception in 2008, only the NFL ranks higher in terms of average attendances with 67,405 per game compared to 58,006 in the past 12 years – around 20,000 higher than the average EPL attendance in the same period.
Team Brand Values
Perhaps the biggest growth the Indian Premier League has witnessed since 2009 is the growth in brand value of the eight franchises, as calculated by Brand Finance annually since 2009.
The remarkable growth in value over the past 10 years seen by Chennai Super Kings (up 90% from $39 million in 2009) is a real testament to the growing popularity of the players, team, management and ability to overcome difficulties along the way.
In contrast, Rajasthan Royals have seen just 9% growth in brand value having fluctuated over the past 10 years (valued at $40 million in 2009) and have some catching up to do if they want to race up the rankings.
However, at this current time, compared to its Premier League counterparts, the IPL franchises have a long way to go to catch up. The top five IPL teams possess a combined brand value of $321m, whereas the top five teams in the Premier League have a combined brand value of a massive $6.5b.
Further comparisons with some of the top leagues in the world show the IPL franchises to be well behind the top football leagues in Spain, Germany, Italy and France. However with brand values of $6.4b and $4.2b respectively, the English Premier League and Spanish LaLiga benefit from long heritage and history, allowing the top teams to build up global followings.