The Indian Premier League’s (IPL) brand value increased last year after a sharp drop in 2020, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The league’s value, which dipped 22 percent to $4.4 billion in 2020, rose 7 percent in 2021 to $4.7 billion, according to an annual report by Brand Finance, the brand valuation consultant.
While the Twenty20 cricket league managed to shrug off pandemic woes, the second COVID wave last year caused IPL to be played in two parts with a gap of four-months between phase one and two.
“Teams and advertisers did lose out on momentum and re-start did not help some teams with their winning run of the first half. Audience interest waned towards the end of the tournament,” said Ajimon Francis, Managing Director of Brand Finance India.
In the first half of IPL 2021, which opened with a match between Mumbai Indians (MI) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), broadcaster Star India clocked 323 million total impressions.
In comparison, the opening match in 2020 between MI and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) logged 11.2 billion viewing minutes. In 2019, the opening match between CSK and RCB recorded 6.8 billion viewing minutes.
The fact that the league’s brand value rose last year despite a four-month delay and relocation to Dubai can be credited to stakeholder confidence in the IPL governing council’s ability to conduct and complete the tournament, the report said.
“The Indian Premier League in 2021 was a come-what-may tournament. Organisers displayed a healthy stubbornness to ensure that lockdown, bio-bubbles, and social distancing protocols did not prevent it from completing the entire league,” said Francis.
The report added that the IPL brand value had grown 134 percent since 2009.
Last year, IPL sponsorships saw an influx of cryptocurrency players – exchanges, advisors and enablers. Fintech brands played a dominant role in sponsorships during the season.
“IPL platform is being increasingly perceived as a good return on investment (ROI) because of its 45-to-60-day window to reach a massive audience. Although the audience interest waned due to the four-month gap between the first and second phase, towards the playoffs the numbers stacked up,” the report said.
Franchise brand values
IPL franchises’ brand values, too, increased. Top of the list was MI, whose brand value grew 13 percent to $79.5 million in 2021. The report added that the franchise’s brand value has risen 91 percent since 2009.
The brand value of the winning team last year, CSK, grew the most, by 27 percent, to $76 million. The team defeated Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the final to win IPL for the fourth time.
As for KKR, the franchise ranked third in terms of brand rankings with its value growing 13 percent to $66 million.
KKR was followed by Delhi Capitals in the fourth position, with an 8 percent brand value increase to $56.1 million.
Ranked fifth, Sunrisers Hyderabad’s brand value declined 9 percent to $52.1 million. “The team’s performance also had an impact on its social media following, digital marketing effectiveness and the ability to create excitement in its online fan clubs,” the report said.
The sixth most valuable brand in IPL, RCB, had a brand value of $50.6 million, up 2 percent.
Punjab Kings claimed the seventh spot in brand rankings, with a value of $36.2 million, down 5 percent.
In the last place in brand rankings was Rajasthan Royals. whose value dropped 5 percent to $34.4 million.
“Dependence on overseas players and their absence in the phase 2 in UAE cost Rajasthan Royals heavily. The team went rapidly to the bottom of the points table, finishing seventh in IPL 2021. The passionate fans of RR in India who ensured high merchandise sales and filled up stadiums were missing with the pandemic restrictions,” the report said.
All eyes are now on the upcoming 15th season of IPL which has got a new title partner– the Tata Group.
Disney, Sony, Reliance’s Jio, Google and Meta are all in the run for the media and broadcasting rights for IPL 2022, the report said.“The expansion in franchises, higher media rights, stickiness of viewers, new title sponsor, and the multiplicity of modes of viewing is all a result of the brand showing grit and consistency,” said Savio D’Souza, Valuation Director of Brand Finance.