MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings (CSK) has emerged as the strongest franchise during the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) which concluded on November 10.
According to a study by media consulting firm Ormax Media, CSK has the highest fan following with 26.8 million fans.
The study on ‘IPL Franchise Fans’ is based on a research conducted among 3,200 respondents across 23 states in India.
The data was collected through the course of the eight weeks of IPL 2020.
The study pegs the number of fans across the eight IPL franchises at 86 million. It defines a franchise fan as someone who has a clear favorite team, is emotionally connected with it, watches its matches from start to finish, and discusses the team and its players online or offline.
While CSK had low scores during the league, there was no impact on its fan following. After CSK, coming on the second position is IPL 13 winners Mumbai Indians (MI) with 24.8 million fans. Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) took the third rank with 13.3 million fans.
The three franchises account for 75 percent of the total fan base, while the remaining five contribute to the balance of 25 percent.
When it comes to the male-female ration amid fans, the study noted that 64 percent or 55 million of the total franchise fans are males, while the balance 36 percent or 31 million are females.
CSK and RCB have the most gender-balanced fan base, with the proportion of female fans being the highest at 40 percent each.
The study pointed out that the nationwide popularity of star players MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli contributes to the stronger female fan base of CSK and RCB.
“Apart from viewership, a definitive measure of the success of a sports league is whether the teams playing in it manage to build a sizeable fan base over the years," Shailesh Kapoor, Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ormax media said.
Kapoor also added that a strong fan base is eventually the key to a profitable franchise. This is because it offers higher monetisation opportunities through various means like sponsorships ticket sales, merchandising, licensing.