The IPL ~ mirroring the upward mobility in the Indian economy!

Over 14 years, the Indian Premiere League (IPL) has gone from being a “DLF” property to now being backed by the evergreen “Tatas”; from $5.3M a year to $40M a year in terms of title sponsorship.

In the very first auction of 2008, the combined purchase price of all the 8 teams was around $723.59M and recently the 2 new franchises were sold for nearly $1.7B combined; the broadcasting rights have shot up from about $1B for 10 year rights to $2.6B for just 5 years currently and is likely to cross $5B in the next cycle.

In some ways it’s journey mirrors the tectonic shifts in the Indian economy ~ from being backed by traditional real estate & consumer packaged good brands to being sponsored by Chinese mobile phone devices to being championed by a fantasy-sport led unicorn. The sponsorship & partnership roster of the event and the franchises is packed by a subset of the 90 odd unicorns that the nation has minted till date.

The fact that the N Chandrasekaran led Tata Group will be investing over $9B dollars over the next 2 years to back the new avatar of the IPL, says a lot about the credibility and maturity of the sporting property.

It resonates well with Tata’s own attempt in rejuvenating it’s own brand as it attempts to launch TateNeu, it’s new super-app that will amalgamate a suite of online services such as grocery, eCommerce, pharmacy, consumer electronics, fashion and more.

The MegaAuctions that kick started yesterday afternoon, where 600 marquee & promising talents go under the hammer and are vying for a collective $75M paycheck, marks a new phase in the life of the 4th largest sporting league in the world, after the NFL, MLB and NBA!

I had the pleasure and privilege of being on RevSportz’s esteemed panel along with Boria Majumdar, Anand Vasu, Veda Krishnamurty, Rupha Ramani, Joydeep Mukherjee, Ashok Namboodri and Deep Dasgupta, as part of the ‘Auction Arithmetic’ show where we sliced & diced the strategies & tactics of the 10 franchises who are looking to build/re-build their units for the next 5–6 years.

Whilst Day 1 of the #IPLMegaAuction2022 had many narratives intertwined, but my favourite one from Day 1 has been the meteoric rise of the 4 domestic Indian bowlers, who may not be international stars just yet, but who have risen from the towns from Sanand, Agra, Indore and Bengaluru to go from ‘Lakhs to Multi-Crore’ deals today.

Their growth trajectory reflects the impact of the IPL on youth, sports and the economic shifts in India.

Hope this ‘IPL effect’ rubs onto women’s and other sporting categories soon too!

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