This country is setting lots of records in many spheres and considered the most populated place in the world. India is the motherland of such famous sons as Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, and Rahul Dravid. The Indian cricket team won the 1983 Cricket World Cup and also became the finalist of the 2003 Cricket World Cup. All this makes cricket the most popular sport in each of the 50 Indian states. Without any doubt, cricket is booming in this place and will continue to do so. Why? Read below.
By the way, take your time to predict what to expect from October cricket features and share it with us in comments.
A Brief Review of the Indian Cricket Economy
It has long been known: India worships cricket. But it is not so widely known that a huge economy is built around this sport: according to the new contract (2018-2022), the Indian Premier League media rights cost $2.6 billion. This deal entered in the world top 10 and in terms of one season ($510 million) and is ahead of the NHL contract valid until 2024 ($454 million).
Games are played in the Twenty20 format and last three and a half hours on average. This is not much for cricket, because, in ODI format, games usually continue for at least five-six hours. So, Indian cricket began to gain commercial interest with the launch of Twenty20 in 2003.
A Successful Deal with Google and YouTube
In January 2010, the Indians agreed with Google to broadcast all the tournament matches live without geo-restrictions. The first leader of IPL, Lalit Modi, spoke of this contract as a deal that would transform the world of sports broadcasts: “Now you can wake up in the morning and watch the game from any moment, and not wait until the replay starts on TV.”
The league recognized YouTube broadcasts as a successful experiment, which allowed them to expand the audience. However, TV gives more audience to the IPL. After signing the contract with Star India, one game of the Indian tournament became more expensive than one match of the national team. By the way, they are also shown by Star India.
Following the cost of one game (about $8.7 million), the IPL is now four times higher than the NBA and 13 times than MLB. Only the football APL ($13.7 million) and the NFL ($22.47 million) are ahead of it.
IPL Continues to Grow
Both top international companies operating in the Indian market and local brands are building their marketing plans in such a way as to take the maximum from the IPL season. For example, in 2017, some advertising campaigns at the start of the tournament were launched simultaneously: the local Amazon office, the Indian departments of Pepsi and Vodafone. For the local market, the launch of the IPL is an analog of the Super Bowl.
Along with the signing of a new media contract, IPL negotiated an agreement with the title sponsor: the Chinese smartphone manufacturer Vivo paid $13 million in 2016-2017 and will pay $61.5 million each year under the new five-year agreement.
IPL Costs 5-6 billion dollars. How Did the League Achieve It?
The analytic company Duff & Phelps in its report says that IPL top clubs cost more than $100 million, and the entire league — $6.3 billion. There are several main reasons why is it happening:
1) A major TV-contract with Star India brings lots of money. The existing big advertisers increased the amount of investments to protect their slots from competitors, while vacant positions attracted more attention.
2) The Hotstar cross-platform OTT service, which is also the part of Star India, has increased its online audience: by the middle of the 2018 season, it attracted 150 million new users. For example, on May 28, 2018, during the IPL Final, the service set a world record for the number of viewers who connected to the broadcast simultaneously — 10.7 million people.
3) The league created excellent conditions for watching IPL matches where there are no teams. In 36 cities of the country, IPL organized fan parks and created an atmosphere similar to a stadium. The entrance is free, guests are offered various entertainments inside and, of course, they provide a lot of opportunities to spend money.
So, we hope that we answered the question of why cricket in India is №1 Sport.