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How did IPL become a success story? (Relevant for GS Prelims, GS Mains Paper II; Polity & Governance)

The IPL has offered financial security to a wide range of cricketers. It has changed cricket’s commercial scenario so much that it has inspired the mushrooming of leagues across the cricket-playing world.

How has it fared in its 11th year?

Ever since its maiden steps in 2008, the Indian Premier League (IPL), often seen as a blend between cricket and entertainment, has been a big hit. With leading international players adding to the allure, the summer league has its charms. Despite controversies like the 2013 spot-fixing scandal, the IPL remains a steady brand, dishing out quality cricket and throwing the spotlight on fresh talent. The story is no different in the latest edition. In fact, the frenzy has been much more than the last two seasons, thanks to the return of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals after their two-year suspension following the spot-fixing and betting controversy.

The new broadcaster Star India, too, left no stone unturned and attracted fans to all its platforms. The fact that the first qualifier between CSK and Sunrisers Hyderabad garnered 8.26 million concurrent views on Hotstar — a world record for live-streamed sport — reiterates the IPL’s enduring appeal.

This year’s final, between CSK and Sunrisers, will be played at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium on May 27.

Why such huge turnouts?

Packed stadiums witnessing IPL games could be attributed to three factors – timing, duration and the presence of top international and domestic stars. The 8 p.m. start obviously suits working professionals on weekdays. Additionally, the abridged nature of Twenty20s means that ideally a game will not last longer than three hours and 15 minutes. Yet, the over-rates this season were pathetic, and matches dragged on for almost four hours, but spectators were unfazed and lapped up the cricket. Attending an IPL game has become part of the summer bucket-list.

What does BCCI gain from IPL?

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) finds incremental appreciation in three facets: Revenue: The IPL is such a big money-spinner that the broadcast rights for five years starting this year fetched a whopping Rs. 16,347 crore. The BCCI distributes 60% of this money among the eight franchises. The remaining amount easily surpasses the Board’s other income, including broadcast rights for international matches played in India.

Goodwill: The IPL has given financial security to a plethora of both domestic and overseas cricketers. Many former players also draw big bucks due to their association as commentators or coaches. And clout: The IPL has emerged as one of the biggest draws in global cricket, and, in turn, it helps the BCCI maintain its stature as the domineering force in the sport’s governance. After all, with the BCCI offering a share to other cricket boards for releasing their players for the IPL, no other board can oppose it or the league.

Do the franchises make money?

The smart franchises that did apt brand-linkages were in the green during the first decade, while a few struggled to break even. However, with the change in dynamics from this season — owners no longer have to pay an annual franchise fee coupled with a huge surge in assured income from the central pool — all eight franchises will earn a massive surplus.

Each franchise is assured of at least Rs. 250 crore from the central pool by the BCCI. Add to that the gate receipts and income from team sponsors, and it would mean each franchise will earn at least Rs. 300 crore. As for expenses, player and coach fees, along with operational costs, should not exceed Rs. 150 crore.

How has IPL helped cricket?

The IPL has offered financial security to a wide range of cricketers. It has changed cricket’s commercial scenario so much that it has inspired the mushrooming of leagues across the cricket-playing world. Even in India, other sporting associations feel empowered to have their own leagues, leading to a win-win situation for athletes and fans.

On the flip side, the IPL has resulted in many players preferring to be T20 freelancers and that could weaken international cricket’s longer formats.

(Adapted from the Hindu)

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