Nine out of 11 IPL teams’ brand value crosses $100 million; Dhoni’s CSK top dog

With the exception of the Punjab Kings and the Lucknow Super Giants, all IPL teams have a brand value of over $100 million, says a report by investment bank Houlihan Lokey.

In fact, the top-ranking team, Chennai Super Kings, is worth $212 in brand value, says the maiden report on brand and enterprise value of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and its teams. Two other top teams – Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians, are also close to it in value.

The standalone brand of IPL itself saw a sharp jump in value – by 80% to $3.2 billion in 2023, compared to $1.8 billion in 2022. One of the most watched cricket leagues has gained immense popularity since the first edition in 2008.

Record-breaking auctions

The IPL’s business value stood at $15.4 billion in 2023, which also increased by 80%, thanks to the 2023–2027 cycle of media rights deals with Jio Cinema and Disney Star. The heightened competition ended in a record-breaking mega media rights auction — and fetched three times the price of the 2017 five-year deal between Disney Star and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

IPL teams

“With the emergence of OTT (over-the-top media platforms) and the continued popularity and global reach of the IPL, the media rights are expected to further increase when they will be up for renewal in the next cycle in 2027, which contributes to the IPL’s enhanced business value,” said Harsh Tali Koti, senior vice president – corporate valuation and advisory services at Houlihan Lokey.

IPL teams

The IPL’s media rights have grown at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18%. “When the IPL’s broadcasting fee is compared with other professional leagues in the world on a per match basis, the IPL fares well above the likes of the NBA, EPL, and Bundesliga and is second only to the NFL,” the report adds. IPL’s revenues were further enhanced by the winning bids of new teams – the Gujarat Titans and the Lucknow Super Giants – at ₹5,625 crore and ₹7,090 crore by CVC Capital Partners and RPSG Group, respectively IPL teams.

The fifteenth edition of IPL in 2022 was experiencing what was called an IPL fatigue with the first four weeks seeing declining viewership. Each week showed a 30-35% fall in viewership compared to the year before. Jio Cinema’s decision to broadcast IPL matches for free shocked and surprised everyone, and brought in the much-needed eyeballs. Around 32 million viewers tuned in to watch the Gujarat Titans vs. CSK finale. In fact, Jio Cinema broke the viewership record thrice this season, with 25 million viewers for the Qualifier 1 and 24 million viewers for the South Indian derby of CSK vs. Royal Challengers Bangalore.

TV broadcasting partner Disney Star also saw the highest viewership numbers in the IPL’s history, with a 482 million cumulative viewership for the first 66 matches as reported by BARC. “This paradigm shift from Disney Star to Viacom18 has not only changed the economics of digital rights, but it also has had the ability to transform the overall appeal of IPL cricket. Until recently, broadcasters were willing to pay a premium to acquire IPL rights, as it helped them to increase the subscription of their pay-per-view TV channels,” the report said.

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