Indian Premier League (IPL) managed to bring a new dimension to the Indian Sports, both on and off the pitch.
Since its inception in 2008, the Indian Premier League (IPL) has been a catalyst for the boom of T20 cricket across the sporting world. For India, it was the start of a journey towards becoming a sporting giant. The IPL contributed not only to the economic growth of the country, but it also generated direct and indirect employment. Commercially, the IPL has proved to be a game-changer, with a notable difference visible between pre-IPL to the current situation.
IPL shaped up India to become a sporting giant
The combination of live entertainment, with a growing middle-class population, increasing internet penetration leading to increasing reach, and the success of the IPL, resulted in the creation of other sporting leagues. People now look at sports as a yearlong activity with serious investments, while the reach of these sporting events has made them a massive platform for brands to invest.
An ecosystem has been built from the grassroots levels to the top level, with sports such as kabaddi, football, tennis, hockey, badminton, wrestling also taking cues from IPL. Since the beginning of the IPL, India has seen more than eight sports initiating independent leagues with a city-based franchise structure.
Emergence of a new audience sector in the country
Back in 2008, it all started with My City My Team, where people supported teams from their city/regions, increasing the viewership of the tournament as a whole as well. In this process, IPL also managed to attract fans from different generations. Before IPL, not all generations keenly followed cricket. Since IPL has a big entertaining quotient, it has been accepted by people from all generations. Considering all generations watch the tournament, all brands have the opportunity to use the tournament as a platform to boost their product.
Brand marketing calendars started to revolve around IPL
IPL brought in an exponential growth in terms of revenue for BCCI. It provided an incredible amount to 100 plus brands that were unmatched by any other event in the country. Marketers started to find IPL as an attractive marketing platform, increasing their interest and investment in the league.
It has consistently maintained a good entertainment value and brought positive value to brands associated with it. Also, given the fact that India is a hub for cricket, the return value provided by the IPL was too good for investors to ignore. It was a win-win situation for everyone involved in the functioning of the league.
IPL paving the way for technology in sport
Technology in sports has divided opinions in the past. However, IPL managed to highlight the positive impact that technology can make on cricket. Groundbreaking technology such as the Hawk-Eye, Zing Wicket System, Umpire Cam, and Super Slo-Mo is proof that the IPL is leaving no stone unturned in its quest to broadcast high-quality cricket and attract people that don’t follow the sport.
The world is evolving with technology, so it was paramount that IPL also evolved with time, paving the way for innovative ideas to improve the experience of the game.
Blueprint for emerging leagues
The fact that most of the emerging sports leagues in India are modelled around the IPL’s format, it only proves that the tournament has been a resounding success. Apart from the league format, finer points such as the Playoffs format or the Strategic timeout concepts have also been successful.
Moreover, India did not have a club culture that is famous in the West. IPL has done well on that part as well. The IPL’s format may or may not work for some sports, but finer points can be observed and be adapted to develop a blueprint layout for other sports. Today, it is a brand to reckon, evolving with precision and hard work.
IPL has completely changed the way how T20 cricket is now perceived in India. Professionalism is a big plus point, and also, more opportunities have opened up for young players that previously struggled to get in the limelight.
Players are getting a chance to earn much better by playing in IPL. It has also developed as a foolproof marketing calendar activity for brands year on year. Lastly, we do hope that the essence of the game- tests cricket remains intact, while the IPL goes about in its work of revolutionizing cricket and inspiring other sports in India.
By Aashish Jaju