The Indian Premier League is one of the most valuable leagues in the world, not only in the cricket sport segment, but across sports and across nations. With a whopping deal securing billions from broadcasting rights and a surge in the sponsorship agreements, IPL now stands at the world’s top valued leagues.
This is no surprise. Given that IPL is the absolute success of the Twenty20 format, followed by millions and millions of cricket fans not only in India, but in other cricket nations as well and being wagered in Indian betting sites by casual and more professional sports bettors – online cricket betting in India is amongst the highest ones in the world – the exponential value growth of the league has been rather anticipated.
How does the IPL make money? What’s IPL’s business model – responsible for bringing in tons of revenues?
Well, before getting a look at the league’s revenue streams, it is worth mentioning or even better it is worth appraising the conceptualization of the business model.
Despite cricket’s distance from the mainstream European football leagues or the NBA league style, the IPL envisioned a blending of good practices, governance, league-based management, advertising and marketing expertise as well as support from BCCI and created a business model that would -some years later- turn the league into one of the most attractive and lucrative option for investors.
IPL’s biggest stream of revenues is the sale of broadcasting rights. Just a year ago, it secured nearly double the price for selling the broadcasting rights for the period 2023-2027, compared to the previous period in 2018-2022. This means that something more than $6.2billions went straight to the pockets of IPL and getting the league even more rich than it already was.
This enormous amount is fairly justified by the fact that the IPL is probably the most viewed sports event both by TV audiences and by streamers. This season’s tour hit viewership record – reaching almost half a billion registered viewers according to the formal release by the Star Sports Network – which not only compensated for the previous years’ drop in overall viewership but broke the record of the most viewed season of all. And in terms of streamed matches, again this season surpassed the 260 million which was a record high just two years ago.
Besides broadcasting rights, the second biggest revenue stream for the IPL is the central sponsorships. In fact, broadcasting rights and central sponsorship deals make up something between 80 and 90% of the league’s earnings.
Central sponsorships bring huge flows of revenues for the league, especially as it is the most prestigious, the most popular and the most iconic T20 league in cricket. Having brands being proudly displayed along the tours is of course something that all marketing executives want and this is why such sponsorships generate billions for the IPL.
Some huge brands go for title sponsorship – such as TATA – while other big brands opt for being official partners – such as Dream11, Herbalife, Cred, Upstox etc. And all these IPL sponsors actually pay premium prices to get their logos and brands tied up to the league that tops every other cricket competition.
While these two account for the most part of the inflows of the IPL, there are also the team-level sponsorships and advertisements or campaigns that run along the season and bring money to the league. And don’t be mistaken, these deals are neither small nor unimportant – on the contrary they are adding considerable value to the Indian Premier League.
Of course we should not omit the revenues coming from the sale of tickets and merchandise. While the turnover is not as big as one would expect, considering that we are talking about the number one league in cricket right now, the money generated from the people who want to attend matches or those who want to demonstrate their love for the sport (or for the teams themselves) by purchasing staff and ‘goodies’ is enough to keep the value of the league high!