Now that the IPL auctions are done and dusted with all the 10 teams looking strong and equally balanced, we are set for another thriller of an IPL season!
But it’s worth analyzing how did franchise cricket become so important in a predominant nation v nation sport? – let’s talk about everything IPL!
The BCCI makes money from sponsorships, media rights, bilateral series, but the biggest cash cow for the BCCI is the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Compared to the IPL, all the other commercializing aspects fall short by a long margin, the IPL simply put, is the most successful league in cricket. Starting in 2008, the TV rights deal was brought by Sony for a whopping 918 million USD, and in 2021 Star Sports pay BCCI a sum of 55 crores per IPL match.
BCCI makes a total of 2500 Crores from one season of the IPL, the 8 teams involved (now 10) in the league have become a household name and are a mega-brand in themselves. We could go into facts and figures of the IPL in great detail, but instead of that let’s identify what really makes the IPL work.
The format, T-20, is a huge hit among the fans; it is fast-paced, full of action, exhilarating, entertaining, and gives tremendous value for entertainment.
T-20 cricket is the perfect fit for the modern era. In a world that is fast, always in a hurry, and has a short attention span, people can’t really watch 5 days of test cricket.
Or for that matter, even 50 overs cricket becomes a long affair. A T-20 match however can be summed up in 3 hours, which would be equivalent to watching a Bollywood movie.
This exact ability of T-20 cricket to wrap its show up in 3 hours makes it tick among the masses. The perfect prime-time watch that you can enjoy with your family and friends over dinner.
Uncertainty of outcome is high
The second pro is that the teams are equally matched and the uncertainty of outcome in any given match is very high.
What that means is, take any two teams from the current eight and it would be very hard to predict who would come out on top.
Most IPL matches go down to the wire and make it an interesting watch due to the fact that they are well balanced and equally matched from head to toe. But this is not by luck it was purposely and intentionally designed so.
Every team owner at the auction has a fixed budget cap, which is the same for all the franchises involved. So, with a fixed budget cap, there is a limit to what every team can buy in terms of quality and quantity, and more often than not this results in every team having a certain number of strengths and liabilities which makes them equally competitive.
The third reason why the IPL is successful is due to its co-creation capabilities.
Cricket before the IPL was largely looked at through the lens of just being a sport, but since the IPL has made its debut, it has made cricket feel more than just sports, it has made it feel like a whole package of entertainment.
Right from its integration with Bollywood superstars, grand opening ceremonies, cheerleaders for every team, Fan engagement bits like contests and fantasy leagues, the brand image of IPL has positioned itself as being equivalent to a festival and that really works in their favor.
IPL positions itself as larger than cricket. It makes you feel like there is a festival going on. A cricketing carnival, that’s exactly what the IPL is, and it’s why it reaches out to a wider audience than just simply cricket fanatics.
Someone who might not enjoy cricket but will watch the IPL for the entertainment value that it offers. That I feel, is the biggest success of the Indian Premier League.
The IPL is a mammoth event that works magic for the BCCI, it has changed the course of cricket, made the sport bigger, better, and more extensive, in ways no one could have possibly imagined.
After the success of the IPL, many such franchise-based T-20 leagues started in other parts of the world hoping to replicate the success of the IPL.
Big bash league in Australia, Pakistan Super League (PSL), Caribbean Premier League (CPL), Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) are some of the examples.