The Indian Premier League (IPL), organised by the richest board in the world, has set the benchmark high for the T20 leagues in the world. At an estimated brand value of $8.4 billion, the lucrative T20 league is only second to the 50-over World Cup in terms of popularity. This brand value allows the franchises to invest big money in star players from India and overseas. It has also attracted players, primarily from Australia, England, and South Africa, to be a part of the extravaganza.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has also taken measured steps to safeguard the popularity of the league through its policy of disallowing foreign players to participate in the foreign league until they announce their retirement.
In recent times, the Big Bash League in Australia, the Pakistan Super League, and the Caribbean Premier League have turned out to be popular T20 leagues. However, the brand value of BBL ($320 million), PSL ($300 million), and CPL ($271 million) is nowhere close to the IPL. Thus, the IPL chairman Arun Dhumal sees no threat from the other T20 leagues in the unforeseen future.
“We don’t see anyone else as our competition, there is none even close to IPL,” he told Reuters by telephone.
“Our best wishes to all the boards starting their own T20 leagues, but I don’t think any of them can be a threat to IPL.”
The IPL is perhaps in its own league and set to challenge the popularity of the National Football League (NFL). It was certain after the BCCI sold the overall media rights for the 2023-27 cycle for INR 107.5 crore. The sales bring the per-game cost of IPL ($13.4 million) close to NFL ($17 million).
Dhumal, further, has more numbers to back his optimism about the IPL. The recently concluded league soared in viewership, especially from the league’s digital partner JioCinema, recording 120 million unique viewers for the nail-biting final between Gujarat Titans and Chennai Super Kings.
“It has been a phenomenal success, and largely because of the sheer competitiveness of this year’s tournament,” Dhumal added.
“Most of the matches went down to the wire and there were plenty of last-over thrillers. We got a phenomenal response from the fans. Our viewership grew manifold and our broadcast and digital partners both are excited.
“Even the in-stadia experience of the fans has been phenomenal, and going forward it’s only going to get better.”
However, despite all the success, there is no discussion of increasing the salary cap by $11.5 million for each franchise in the upcoming season.
“We will have to consult the franchises and team owners before taking a call,” he said.
“While we still have 10 months before the next IPL, a lot of discussion will have to take place before anything like that happens.”
The IPL Governing Council, meanwhile, is looking to increase its revenue by adding to the number of matches. While currently, the lucrative tournament features 74 matches per season, the number might go up to 94, in the unforeseen future. This, however, will only be possible if the tournament gets a bigger window in the crunch international schedule.