Indian Premiere League: A Celebrity Driven Entertainment


Ms. Remya. R.M
Faculty Member - Finance


Cricket, cricket and more cricket! That is what driving the nation today. Its not only a sport anymore, its beyond that. Its entertainment, its business, it's the topic of discussion among youth, its about brand promotion, it's the most favorite sport of the bookies & what not! Cricket loving Indians across the globe are euphoric about the latest and greatest tournament under the IPL. It combines the glamour of bollywood with the fanatic following of cricket among Indians across the world. No wonder it has been dubbed as "Cricketainment"

"The cricket uses celebrity to feel good about itself. The celebrities use the cricket to stay in the headlines. It's a symbiosis of a particularly cynical kind" –Lawrence Booth, cricket writer.


Cricket is considered to be more like a religion in India than just a sport. Its really a happy thing that people have taken cricket into their heart, however I wonder why too much on cricket. People have their passion with this game & passion is one virtue where everything else takes a backseat. The game has evolved from time to time so that it can attract more crowd, more sponsors. Test cricket evolved to 50 overs one day match and finally to 20-20. The BCCI launched the IPL on the lines of football English Premiere League & the National Football League (NBA) of USA

The IPL works on a franchise system based on the American style of hiring players. These franchisees were put for auction, where the highest bidder won the rights to own the team representing each city. It has also rewritten the rules of the game with American-style cheerleaders & movie mavens doing as song-and-dance before every match.

Facts on IPL

*  Title sponsorship rights: the largest real estate developer in India, DLF has paid (over $50 million) for the rights to the title of the IPL for the next five years

*  Television rights: rights of the media are combining for Sony TV Network & Singapore based World Sports Group. The record deal has a duration of ten years where BCCI has already earned $1.026 million (around 7000 crores)

*  It is a real money mania. It is expected to bring a billion dollar income every year to the board. The prize money for every season is $3 million.

*  The franchises were sold out for rally outstanding process. Mumbai was the highest paid among them which was sold out for an astonishing amount of $110 million to the Chairman of Reliance Industries, Mukesh Ambani.

*  The auction of the players was also a great occasion where the bidding crossed the $ 1 million mark. Mahender Singh Dhoni, Captain of Indian cricket team  was auctioned for the highest amount of $1.5 million. The next highest was Andrew Symonds who was auctioned for $1.35 million.

*  The marketing honchos of IPL have each spent already Rs.80-100 million in promoting their teams by designing team logos, tuning theme song and picking the right brand ambassador.



Bid Price USD


Bangalore Royal Challengers

Dr.Vijay Mallya (UB Group)

$111.6 million

Rahul Dravid

Kings XI Punjab

Preity Zinta, Ness Wadia along with renowned industrialists Karan Paul (Apeejay Surendera Group) and Mohit Burman (Dabur)

$76 million

Yuvraj Singh

Chennai Super Kings

India Cements and N Srinivasan

$91 million

Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Kolkata Knight Riders

Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan, actress Juhi Chawla (Red Chillies Entertainment)

$75.09 million

Sourav Ganguly

Deccan Chargers

Deccan Chronicle, a media house

$107 million

VVS Laxman

Mumbai Indians

Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries Limited

$111.9 million

Sachin Tendulkar

Delhi Daredevils

GMR Holdings

$84 million

Virender Sehwag

Rajasthan Royal

Emerging Media, UK based company ( Manoj Badale, Lachlan Murdoch, Suresh Chellaram)

$67 million

Shane Warne


Will IPL take cricket to a new level?

Points in favor

* So enduring in India's love affair with cricket, that a relatively unknown television channel which successfully bid for the exclusive rights to what is easily the biggest sporting event in the history of this country has seen its viwership  zoom sky high. Commercials during the match telecast have helped the channel recover a good part to win the telecast rights.

* The IPL experiment has began to pay off hitherto talented but unknown regional players have received national exposure or else they would have been a Ranji player aspiring for a position in the Indian team throughout their life. This should undoubtedly enrich the national pool of cricketers for the selection of Indian eleven.

* IPL is also a huge success mainly due to its high off-field entertainment quotient. IPL has seen it all from gig corporate giants like Mukesh Ambani to Dr.Vijay Mallya to Jaypee Group to Ness Wadia on one hand & big celebrities like Shah Rukh Khan, Priety Zinta, Juhi Chawla & et all on the other. They all have invested crores and crores on the IPL teams & bought them for ten years.

* It is an added bonus of the American style cheerleaders doing their eye catching jigs at the IPL matches & bollywood stars performing box-office hits that have made IPL a not-to-be missed event.

* The national boundaries of world cricket have been erased but left the fans in a dilemma whether to cheer their national team or their club teams with players of different countries.

* Brands are getting promoted & the companies are flourishing a pure entertainment for the whole family, business opportunity for many & so on.. It's a complete package in short. With the IPL the world cricket has got a new era.  

Points against

* Weeks before the start of the IPL, television ads sought to whip up regional passions with fans of individual teams disdainfully spurning the rival teams. In a typical TV ad, a dentist, for instance, is shown maltreating a patient upon noticing that the latter supports a rival team

* Even in Kolkata, city known for its unflagging loyalty to local star & former Indian captain, Saurav Ganguly, appeared to have forgotten him at the weekend game. There were posters of Shahrukh Khan in the stands, and the star's local fan club walked in carrying huge cut outs of their icon.

* City loyalty may outscore national patriotism to generate revenue in an unprecedented manner.

* Big money big media will create new loyalties for fans, big money has bought the teams & players & paid millions in advertising support while big media, especially the TV channels, will promote & project the IPL as the greatest show on earth.

* Is profitability or love for the game, top priority of all the promoters? Of course it is profitability, for instance, Dr.Vijay Mallya using the Bangalore Royal Challengers as a platform to promote his airline & liquor brands that he otherwise can't advertise through conventional media.

In other words, IPL is a major brand building project. Each team has roped in a high octane brand ambassador. Kolkata Knight Riders is fortunate that it has the biggest brand ambassador as its owner Sharukh Khan and what is more entertaining for the crowds is that, led by Khan the entire bollywood crowd claps & dances to celebrate every little success of their team on the field. Similarly Priety is seen enthusiastically rooting for her Punjab Kings. The Chennai Super Kings, owned by a local cement company, has roped in the current heartthrob of Kollywood for promotion i.e. Vijay and Nayantara.


Cricket will remain cricket, no matter what, only what changes is the format as we have seen a transition from five day test to one day events and then on to this 20 Twenty exciting format. But in a star-struck, hierarchy conscious India, bollywood stars are like "Pied Pipers" who lead their legions of fans to love and hate what they love and hate. Admittedly, cricket has taken a backseat to off-field entertainment but in time, hopefully, IPL will come to focus on the game  


* "Premier League: The new reality show on Indian TV" The Economic Times, 6th May 2008
* "IPL T-20 format: A threat to cricket?" The Economic Times, 7th May 2008.
* "IPL turns out to be gambler's paradise" The Economic Times, 11th May 2008
* "IPL turns into punter paradise, betting crosses Rs 6K cr" The Economic Times, 15th May 2008
* "Twenty Golden Overs" The Outlook, 3rd March  2008

Ms. Remya. R.M
Faculty Member - Finance

Source: E-mail June 6, 2008


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