Home > India, Life, Media > Rise of the Indian Premier League

Rise of the Indian Premier League

(this is a “context” post: for readers who are not familiar with cricket or the IPL)

Over the past decade, India has emerged as the center of power in the world of cricket.  The “gentleman’s game” was invented in England but a billion fans in an economically surging subcontinent, a great many with significant disposable incomes, have made the Indian scene the primary money spinner for the game.  Within the world of five-day “Test matches”  and more exhilarating “one day” games, a recent innovation has been the introduction of adrenaline pumping three-hour games which are TV friendly much like American sports like baseball/football/basketball are.  Over the past three years, the Indian Premier League (IPL) has bubbled up to the top of the world cricket tournaments played over 6 weeks in March and April since 2008.

The IPL has been structured much like the American professional leagues.  Both Indian and the best international cricket stars vie for contracts with one of 8 teams and are picked by an auction process and player salaries are now in the millions of US Dollars which is high by cricket standards and by any standards for a few weeks of play.   Salaries are now supposed to be second only to the NBA.  The entire IPL league is spinning over $1B in revenues (ticket sales, media rights and merchandising) and the brand is valued at $4B just three years into its history.

As the IPL grew in stature and market acceptance, the league sought to expand and two more teams were planned for the tournament next year.  Teams have been lucrative and the glamor associated with ownership has also pushed up valuations.  Not surprisingly the bidding for the two new teams was frenetic and valuations soared to fetch $703M for the two teams.  To quote Lalit Modi,  the IPL commissioner, after the bidding closed:

“The last eight teams that were auctioned by the [cricket board] realized a total value of Rs28.4 billion [$624.7 million]. The two new teams alone are more than the value of all the eight teams put together.”

Things could not get better for the IPL.  Except that, the allure of the game is so strong that recent attempts to expand the league have resulted in controversy.

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Categories: India, Life, Media

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