Cricket it’s a sport thatdates back over 400 years. And as of 2019 is officially playedin 104 countries around the world. But cricket’s popularity is startingto take a hit. And things are especially bad in thecountry of its birth, the UK. Ratings there have fallenoff a cliff. Less people are playing the sportand attendance at traditional Test cricket matches is falling. Part of the problem, you can no longerwatch cricket on TV for free in the UK. In 2005 the sport became a pay towatch event on TV when the England Cricket Board saw the broadcast rights toSky Sports by selling out Sky Sports.
Whilst that brought a lot of money intothe game for the clubs and the ECB it killed the television audience. Since that day we’veseen attendance has declined. We’ve seen participation decline. We’ve seen the sport really struggleto generate the next generation of funds and players. Another problem, attention spans whoappear to be getting shorter traditional games known as Testmatches last for five days. And cricket enthusiasts just aren’t aspatient as they used to be. So you are asking people to give up alot of leisure time and we know that working commitments are higher in theUK now than ever before. People are being asked to play moreof less disposable income on trade time so that’s a big factor aswell with a sport like cricket. But there is one country where cricketis more popular than ever, India.
Cricket’s worldwide fan base is comprisedof roughly one billion people in the Indian subcontinent alone makes up90 percent of those fans. In India, the country adopted a brandnew shorter format of the game has drastically cut down on playingtime from days to hours. The Indian Premier League or the IPLhas only been around for twelve years but it’s fast become one of themost popular and valuable cricket leagues on the planet.
The IPL is brand value has nearlydoubled in the last five years. In 2018 the league was valued at 6.3 billion dollars. It rakes in and 510 million dollarseach year from its broadcasting rights deal making it to only cricket league inthe world to crack the top 20 most valuable media rights deals inall of professional sports joining the ranks of the NFL the NBA and MLB. So how did the IPL become onethe most lucrative cricket leagues on the planet. And could this surge in popularity engineera turnaround for cricket on the world stage.
The first record of cricket being played asan adult sport was in 1611 in England. The sport started to take shape in the17th century and by 1709 it was recognized as a legitimate pro sport. This was about the time theprofessional village cricketers were hired to join county teams. By the early 18th century cricket wasthe leading sport in London and other counties across England because of thereach of the British Empire. The sport took root around the worldwhen it came to the British Empire. And when it came to Britain colonizing theworld cricket was seen as a way to tensely of civilizing the world. Cricket has a series of moves as aseries of codes of conduct such as war King when the when theumpire keeps you out.
There was an element as wellof muscular Christianity that healthy exercise was very very good. As early as the 17th century cricketwas being played in English colonies North America and during the 18thcentury colonists introduced cricket to the West Indies and Australia whilemariners from Britain’s East India Trading Company brought thegame to India. In the 19th century New Zealand andSouth Africa also began to play the sport. Over the years cricket has evolvedinto three different formats Test cricket. One day in 2020 the Testcricket format debuted in 1877. These matches last five days. One Day Cricket started back in 1971and as the name implies cricket matches conclude within a single day. And in 2003 2020 was established. 2020 is a streamlined version ofcricket that allows for faster gameplay and more scoring 20 20 games typicallywrap up in about three hours. Each version of cricket hasleagues around the world. But 2020 is the most popular format ofthe game today and in India it created its own 2020 league in 2007when it rolled out the Indian Premier League. In India. Cricket is huge. It’s been a staple in Indiansports since the seventeen hundreds. It’s currently the most popularsport in the country.
The IPL is one of therichest sports properties in the world. And while the IPL isn’t the only cricketleague in India it is the most successful league in the country. The 48 day annual tournament was created in2007 with the help of the Board of Control for Cricket in Indiaand Indian businessmen Lalit Modi. Even though cricket already had a fewpro cricket leagues they wanted to capitalize on the commercialsuccess of 2020. So they modeled the IPL in a similarnature to pro sports in the US. The IPL was specifically modeled afterthe likes of the NFL. Which has a decentralized league. meaning that all teams areowned and operated independently. Also similar to the NFL model the IPLis its own league with its own unique structure.
There is a separate T20World Cup where India competes. But that’s different from the IPL. even though matches areall held in India. Team rosters are chock fullof top international talent. In 2018, teams spent 94 million dollarsto buy 169 players in an auction. up from its 40 million dollarsfor 66 players in 2017. But what you’ve actually got in theIPL franchises who represent a city a place an industrial heartland and you’vegot the full support of some major entrepreneurs. So rather than let’s say Delhi again. So you’ve got your IPLfranchises based around the cities. I’m not as actuallyhave a massive impact. in terms of global cricket. To make sure the stands are filled withas many IPL fans as possible and to maximize TV viewership. Matches are typically played inthe evening and on weekends.
The IPL is a hugemoneymaker in India since 2014. The IPL brand valuation has doubledto six point three billion dollars. The reason the IPL has won the largestfan base is for a single sports league in the world. During its opening week of the 2013season the IPL broke records when 371 million viewers tuned in to watch and bythe last week of the tournament a total of 769 million fanswatched the 2013 IPL season. The ad revenue generated for thatseason was over 276 million dollars according to StarIndia’s managing director. High ratings and ad dollars were abig part of why a major U.S. media companies had their eyeson IPL broadcasting rights. When the IPL launched in 2008. The league issued being your rightsto Singapore based sports marketing agency World Sport group. They broadcast an IPO matches onIndia’s Sony Macs TV channel. Under the terms of the 10 yearcontract World Sport group paid the IPL approximately 1 million dollars per matchin its first year for the exclusive broadcasting rights. The overall value of that broadcastingdeal was 918 million dollars when the broadcasting dealexpired in 2017. There was a global bidding warfor exclusive rights for the IPL. Fox and Sony put in competing bids whileFacebook also put its hat in the ring for the 2018-2022 digital rights ofthe IPL making a 600 million dollar offer.
Those TV and digital rights eventuallywent to Fox the American broadcasters struck a five year 2.5 five billion dollar deal for theglobal media rights of the IPL. The price per match jumped from1 million dollars to about 8.47 million dollars per game. For comparison the NFL costper game is around 22.5 million dollars. The English Premier Leagueis around 13.2 million dollars. The NBA is close to 2 million dollarsand the MLB is just 630 thousand dollars per game. Just two years after the ink dried onthe Fox IPL deal Disney completed a 71 billion dollar deal for Fox entertainmentassets one of the assets that Disney now owns is hot star.
The Indian video streamingcompany in 2019. Streaming service at a global record forthe number of people tuning into a life streaming event. There are 18.6 concurrent viewers watching the IPL finalmatch on the hot star’s website in app. And with that kind of viewership namingrights for the IPL are also huge for the league. Since 2008 the IPO naming rights havechanged hands three times from brands DLF to PepsiCo India and finally toVevo a mobile handset manufacturer in China. Vevo first took over title sponsorship in2015 and in 2017 Vevo signed a fresh five year deal with theIPL worth approximately three hundred forty one million dollars in 2018.
The average salary of cricket players inthe IPL jumped nearly 30 percent from the year before. All thanks to the massive TVdeal signed with Fox in 2017. Before the deal, players across the leaguehad an average salary of 3.9 million dollars but in 2018 the averagesalary was just over 5 million dollars. And unlike other major sports leaguesthe IPL season is so short that players have a chance to bankeven more cash in the off season. The IPL takes place in the spring startingat the end of March or early April and continuing through May. That means cricketers have the flexibilityto play for other clubs around the world. Take the Mumbai Indiansplayer Kieran Pollard. In 2017 he and more thanone million dollars for two months. They play for the Mumbai Indiansand IPL in that same year. Pollard had multiple revenue streams fromplaying for cricket leagues in Australia Bangladesh andSouth Africa. But just as cricket first spread acrossthe world in the 18th century cricket’s latest form of 2020. Similarly.
Taking rootacross the globe. There’s even a record breaking investmentfor 2020 league in a country where cricket is evenremotely popular, the U.S. In May, 2019, USA Cricket receiveda 1 billion dollar investment from American cricket enterprises to developa 2020 league in America. It’s one of the biggest deals fordevelopment of domestic cricket in the US and the launch of the league is setto take off in 2021 since the 2020 cricket format was introduced in 2003 andhas taken the cricket world by storm. And it doesn’t seem tobe slowing down anytime soon.