Come March 23, 2019 and all eyes will be glued to the television sets, courtesy the 12th edition of the Indian Premier League, famously known as the IPL. Celebrated more like an Indian sports fest, the league that actually globalised cricket, literally makes a song and dance about everything that’s cricket. It’s the time of strategic timeouts, celeb-spotting (read SRK and gang), twirling and pirouetting cheerleaders, everchanging sponsors, vogueish franchise owners, swashbuckling players from major teams across the globe. All plans are in place to enthral IPL fans, rake in the moolah and also the TRPs. Here’s a dekko at how the IPL has shaped up as a brand in the last 11 years.
Said to be the brainchild of Lalit Modi, then vice-president of the BCCI and commissioner of the league, IPL was officially announced as a Twenty20 format by the BCCI in 2008. “The dynamic Twenty20 format has been designed to attract a young fan base, which also includes women and children.” Modi said during its launch. The top run-scorer was said to win the Orange Cap while the Purple Cap was to be awarded to the highest wicket-taker. Rajasthan Royals, Kings XI Punjab, Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Daredevils, Mumbai Indians, Kolkata Knight Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Deccan Chargers comprised the 8 teams with Rajasthan Royals pocketing the inaugural trophy.
As the case is this year, in 2009 too, the IPL dates clashed with General Elections. With the Central Government’s refusal to provide security by Indian paramilitary forces to the teams in the wake of the attack on the Sri Lanka national cricket team in Pakistan on March 3, 2009, the BCCI decided to host the league in South Africa. The event was a global success and ruled the airwaves too. Vuvuzelas, the popular plastic horns made their debut filling stadiums with their loud monotone sounds while Deccan Chargers claimed the trophy.
In 2010, the IPL made it to the YouTube hall of fame by becoming the world’s first sporting event to be streamed live. Also, the last four matches were screened across movie halls in 3D. This edition saw Chennai Super Kings (CSK) register their first tournament victory.
In 2011, the fourth season saw the induction of two more teams; the Pune Warriors India and the Kochi Tuskers Kerala, taking the number of teams in the league to 10. CSK lifted the trophy in a successive win.
The fifth season was marred by termination of the Kochi franchise by the BCCI for “breaching its terms of agreement”, alleged spot-fixing scandals and low viewership. However, towards the end of the season, the IPL 5 recorded “higher cumulative viewership than any previous edition of IPL”. Kolkata Knight Riders won that season’s trophy.
In 2013, PepsiCo became the title sponsor of IPL 6. This season too had its share of controversies with players from the Rajasthan franchise being arrested for spot-fixing and Pune Warriors India terminating their participation. The Mumbai Indians won this tournament.
The seventh edition of the IPL was jointly hosted by India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Owing to the General Elections in 2014, it was played in two legs; the first in UAE and the second in India. It was in this season, Kolkata Knight Riders registered their second win.
The IPL season 8 (2015) had eight teams vying for the title which was won by Mumbai Indians for the second time. This season contributed ₹ 11.5 billion to India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), stated the BCCI quoting its survey. “Hosting an IPL match also adds value and revenue to the economy of the state,” it said. The BCCI also floated IPL Fan park to spread its popularity.
IPL 9 had Vivo take over sponsorship rights and the tournament was named as Vivo IPL 2016. Gujarat Lions and Rising Pune Supergiant were the two new teams inducted in the place of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals following their suspension. The use of LED stumps was a first too. The tournament was won by Sunrisers Hyderabad.
The tenth edition of IPL in 2017 featured the same eight teams of IPL 9 where Mumbai Indians won by 1 run, their third title, against Rising Pune Supergiant in the final. In September 2017, Star Sports pipped Sony Max to bag IPL media rights for 5 seasons at Rs 16,347.5 crore.
In season 11 (2018), Chennai Super Kings and the Rajasthan Royals made a comeback after their suspension ended while Gujarat Lions and Rising Pune Supergiant bid adieu to the league. The brand value of IPL hit US $6.3 billion as per the global valuation and corporate finance advisors Duff & Phelps. Also, CSK won their third title.
Putting to rest the speculation that IPL 12 be hosted in a foreign country owing to its schedule conflicting with the General Elections, the BCCI confirmed that the tournament will be hosted in India. Meanwhile, the Delhi franchise announced a new name Delhi Capitals and a new logo. Every year, the brand keeps getting bigger with a phenomenal jump in viewers and advertisers alike. So, who’ll lift the trophy this year? The “most attended cricket league in the world” sure has us guessing!