IPL: The Biggest Sporting Tournament of the Year

Sports connect people and nations. It knows no boundaries and the fan following isn’t limited to people who own the Indian Premier League (IPL) teams. It’s across the nation, every part of the country.

Any sport is a big source of entertainment and an important factor that unites the nation. It fills an individual with a nationalistic feeling irrespective of his/her social and economic background. And Cricket is indeed a very popular sport in India. It is like a religion!

IPL Genesis and Structure

A shortened form of cricket existed in the ‘cricket world’ since the 1990s but the Twenty20 (T20) format was officially established in 2003. In 2007, the cricket world saw a bigger paradigm shift with the inaugural ‘Twenty20 World Cup’ by the International Cricket Council (ICC) which was quite exciting.

India understood at a very early stage that T20 is the new course. With the growing popularity of the format in the world, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) founded the ‘Indian Premier League’ (IPL) in 2008. And IPL became the professional T20 cricket league and one of the most-watched formats of cricket in India. 

IPL is usually contested between March and May of every year with eight teams playing in India’s major cities with a team of ‘global cricket talent’. Each player in the team is acquired through an auction in three ways (the annual player auction, trading players and signing replacements for unavailable players). By 2022, we may see two more teams joining the club.

Unique Selling Point (USP)

Bollywood and Cricket is adored in India. And, by combining Sports and glamour, India became the first country to form this unique form of IPL. It gathered a huge fan following and great viewership.

IPL’s USP is its structure. Limited to 20 overs and 3 hours’ duration makes it good enough to hold back the viewers leading to high excitement. IPL is a fast-paced game that attracts huge viewership on television, other digital platforms and also keeps the attention of the spectators present on the ground. The shorter version is much closer to the time-span of other popular team sports. Thus, it became an instant hit with the audience in India and abroad.


IPL is one of the most-watched events. Any association of start-ups with IPL will enhance digital footprints, bring more visibility to their product/service and will create awareness of the brand among the consumers.

IPL Viewership

According to Broadcast Audience Research Council of India (BARC), IPL 2020 edition broke previous records and became the biggest ever IPL edition in terms of viewership. It is the first sports tournament to surpass 400 billion viewing minutes. IPL 2020 was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was finally played in September 2020 (post the lockdown) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Despite the absence of spectators at the field but with a virtual presence of the audience, the game turned out to be a huge success. Currently, Star India holds the media rights to telecast the event globally. And, IPL franchises generate 70 per cent of revenue by these media rights.

Till 2019, IPL was one of the biggest sporting leagues in the world in terms of brand and annual viewership. Though the overall viewership across television and other digital platforms increased immensely in 2020. But brand valuation decreased. According to a Duff & Phelps report, for the first time in seven years, the brand value of IPL dropped by 3.6 per cent (in rupee terms). However, that does not make the event and its contribution to the nation’s economic growth any less.

Title Sponsorship

Over the years, the Title Sponsorship has changed hands from DLF, Pepsi to VIVO. In 2020, VIVO in mutual agreement with BCCI had to pause the Sponsorship due to ongoing India China Border tensions. Hence, the 2020 Title Sponsorship was given to Dream 11.

IPL Winners

Mumbai Indians is the only team that has won the IPL title five times since the inception of the tournament. And it is owned by Reliance Industries, India’s biggest conglomerate. With IPL 2021, you will see another edge of the chair performance in a month’s time as IPL 2021 begins on April 9, 2021.

What’s in it for me?

IPL has added the experience of cricketing carnival for its audience. It is one of the most-watched events. Thus, any association of start-ups with IPL will enhance digital footprints, bring more visibility to their product/service and will create awareness of the brand among the consumers. It will create more business opportunities, new associations and build further credibility for the brand.

Roopali Kotwal
Roopali Kotwal
Roopali is a former author with Dutch Uncles, a subject matter expert with over a decade of experience. She writes on Human Resource Management and Business Operations.



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