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Vantage | What’s IPL’s success says about cricket, business and soft power

Opinion

Vantage | What's IPL's success says about cricket, business and soft power

Comparisons with football clubs, worth billions of dollars, indicate that the IPL's growth may be limitless

The Vantage Take December 20, 2023 15:10:36 IST Vantage | What's IPL's success says about cricket, business and soft power

IPL 2024 auctioneer Mallika Sagar during the Player Auction in Dubai. Image courtesy Sportzpics

In a world often dominated by political discourse, a recent event in Dubai brought a refreshing diversion. The Indian Premier League (IPL) auctions, a high-stakes affair that goes far beyond the on-ground action, took centre stage. While most fans witness the excitement during matches, the secret sauce lies in the backroom workings that shape IPL champions.

Auction dynamics

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IPL 2024 Auction: Player list, remaining slots and total purse of all 10 franchises

The IPL auction is a spectacle where all ten teams participate in bidding for short-listed players. Out of 333 players, 38 found new homes in Dubai, while the rest went unsold. Each player has a base price and teams engage in competitive bidding to secure their desired players with the highest bid winning the player.

The 2023 IPL auction witnessed some eye-watering bids with Australian pacer Mitchell Starc emerging as the top pick. Starc fetched a historic bid of almost $3 million marking the highest bid in IPL history. Joining him in the league of high bids was Australian captain Pat Cummins, securing a substantial $2.5 million.

Financial landscape

Cricket enthusiasts quickly calculated the financial implications of these bids, breaking down Starc’s salary to approximately Rs7.3 lakh per ball. The internet, as expected, responded with a wave of humorous memes, reflecting the fans’ creativity and wit.

Beyond the individual player bids, franchises actively participated in the social media banter. Teams like the Rajasthan Royals contributed to the fun by sharing memes throughout the auction, showcasing a lighter side to the intense bidding process.

The record-breaking bids hint at the growing confidence of IPL teams. A recent report highlighted that the IPL’s brand value has reached around $10.7 billion, marking a 28 per cent increase from the previous year and a staggering 433 per cent growth since its inception in 2008.

Fan base and global expansion

The backbone of Indian cricket remains its fans, evident in the IPL’s massive viewership of almost one billion, with 500 million on television and 450 million on digital platforms. Teams have achieved cult status, with Mumbai Indians leading the pack at $87 million and Chennai Super Kings close behind at $80 million.

The influence of the IPL extends beyond national borders with many teams owning franchises abroad. This expansive network transforms the IPL from a tournament into a global phenomenon, intertwining cricket, business and soft power.

IPL’s impact on cricket

The IPL is not merely a cricket tournament; it is a catalyst for change. By introducing new rules, leveraging technology and effective marketing, the league is reinventing the sport. While cricket purists may question the necessity, adapting to the times becomes imperative for survival.

Comparisons with football clubs, worth billions of dollars, indicate that the IPL’s growth may be limitless. As every auction sees larger bids and broadcasting deals surge, the IPL becomes not only a cash cow for India but also a global obsession. The question lingers: What’s next for the IPL, and where does this unprecedented growth lead cricket? Only time will unveil the next chapter in this captivating journey.

Views expressed in the above piece are personal and solely that of the author. They do not necessarily reflect Firstpost’s views.

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