Twelve seasons past, the Indian Premier League (IPL) continues to grow from strength to strength with the T20 format cricketing league valued at Rs 47,500 crore in 2019, up 13.5 percent over last year, according to the latest Duff & Phelps IPL Brand Valuation report.
The IPL ecosystem was valued at Rs 41,800 crore in 2018. In dollar terms, IPL’s brand value has grown 7 percent, from $6.3 billion in 2018 to $6.7 billion in 2019. Loyalty to the IPL by audiences and broadcasters has remained steadfast over the years, and 2019 stood out on both accounts.
"With the rapid increase of digitisation, (Star TV-owned OTT) Hotstar broke its own world record of 10.7 million concurrent over-the-top viewers that it set during last year’s IPL final, not once, but twice, in this edition of IPL - first with 12.7 million concurrent viewers in a league match and then with 18.6 million for the finals—a testament to the continued popularity of the tournament,” said Varun Gupta, managing director, Asia Pacific leader for valuation services, Duff & Phelps.
"It is noteworthy that despite 2019 being the World Cup year, a 20 percent increment has been witnessed in ad spending. The advertisers could have taken a conservative stance and saved their budgets for the World Cup, but the high viewership interest in IPL continued to attract them,” adds Gupta.
The big two of IPL, Mumbai Indians (MI) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK), continued their absolute dominance with MI winning their fourth IPL title in 2019, the most by any team in the history of the IPL.
This superlative performance led to MI retaining the title of the most valued brand in 2019. Presiding at the number one position, Mumbai Indians’ brand value rose from Rs 746 crore in 2018 to Rs 809 crore in 2019, a jump of 8.5 percent.
Led by MS Dhoni, CSK retained the number two position, with it's brand value rising from Rs 647 crore in 2018 to Rs 732 crore in 2019, a rise of 13.1 percent. Delhi Capitals has been another big gainer by 8.9 percent (in INR terms), again due to their strong on-field performance this year.
But the consistent poor on-field performance of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) took a toll on their brand values, with both franchises shedding approximately 8 percent of their brand value over last year.
"KKR’s brand value has been impacted due to their poor on-field performance in the last couple of seasons in addition to a lack of marquee players. KKR is one brand which generates significant equity from Shah Rukh Khan’s (personal) brand. Considering there has been an impact on brand SRK, it has had a trickle-down effect on KKR as well,” said Santosh N, managing partner, Duff & Phelps India Advisory.
KKR, the third most valued brand, saw its value erode by 8.3 per cent from Rs 686 crore in 2018 to Rs 629 crore in 2019. RCB’s brand value has reduced from Rs 647 crore to Rs 595 crore in 2019.
"RCB’s consistently poor on-field performance and over-reliance on Virat Kohli and AB De Villers have negatively impacted the brand credibility and a correction was inevitable. RCB is the only team in our top five rankings not to have won an IPL trophy since its inception. If not for the presence of Virat Kohli, and a loyal fan base for the franchise, it's brand value would have seen significant erosion in the last couple of years,” said Santosh N.
Rajasthan Royals, at the bottom of the ranks, also saw it's brand value erode due to on-field performance, lack of marquee players and major controversies surrounding the team historically.
With the IPL entering into a mature and stable phase, the Duff & Phelps report underscores the importance of franchisees engaging with fans off the field, and outside the IPL tournament, to monetize their brands and create alternate revenue streams.
The reports shed light on the challenges that franchisees face in monetizing merchandise successfully like major football clubs and sporting leagues around the world.
"The large, unorganised counterfeit market in India has been a major challenge and it is important to crack the whip on counterfeit products to maximize the gains for the IPL ecosystem. However, it is also important that the stakeholders evaluate their pricing strategy for merchandise to deter the production of fake goods, especially in the cost-conscious Indian market,” said Gupta.
"While counterfeits exist even in developed nations, the difference in price between the counterfeits and originals is not vast. In India, the difference can be more than 10 times, with a T-shirt purchased outside a stadium costing Rs 200 and a branded, in-store T-shirt costing Rs 2,500, The second issue is that the Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) in India is significantly lower than in the US or in Europe. This incentivizes even the seemingly well-to-do to go in for counterfeits,” said Santosh N.
"Only successful monetisation will take the IPL from a $6 billion property to a $25 billion over the next decade,” he added.
On sponsorship rights, there is room for significant upside, says Duff and Phelps. “If we go by the recently renewed BCCI and Paytm title sponsorship deal (an increase of 58 percent on a per-match basis over the last deal), IPL will be looking for another massive increment when the sponsorship rights are up for grabs in the year 2022,” said Gupta.
For companies too, the association with IPL has been very rewarding. Chinese phone maker Vivo, which earned the title sponsorship for IPL in 2015, has seen it's market share rise to 15 percent to become the third most-selling phone in India. The IPL has also tremendously contributed to helping Dream 11 – the official partner of the IPL for three years starting 2019 – capture 90 percent of the fantasy gaming industry in India.
For individual franchises, team sponsorships and sponsorship revenue from the IPL central pool is critical to keep teams financially viable and there seems to be no dearth of capital.IPL 2019 saw over a 100 team sponsorships from different industries including e-commerce, beverages, educational institutions, government bodies, insurance and healthcare providers including companies such as Samsung, Viacom18, Muthoot Group, Nokia, Reliance Jio Digital, WROGN and Daikin among others.