This year, the hotly anticipated annual 20-20 cricket tournament has recorded a 22% drop in business value to US$4.4 billion.
The IPL sponsorships were driven by tech brands this year. Global and local mega brands -representing sectors ranging from IT services, telecoms, online payments, gaming and FMCG -vied for a piece of the first mass viewed tournament after a prolonged pandemic driven lockdown. IPL continues to attract the best global talent like the La Liga and the English Premiere League have both accomplished in the soccer space.
The Indian Premier League roll out of 2020 was surreal and impressive. The IPL ensured continuity of the brand with some bold moves, including: technical collaboration with ECB; venue collaboration with the UAE; a quick response to quarantine and bio bubble disciplines; a change in title sponsorship due to geo-politics; and matches played to empty stadiums with sound effects and signboards mimicking the real game.Ajimon Francis, Managing Director of Brand Finance India
IPL continues to be a serious gamechanger for aspiring cricketers. With the auctions for the 14th edition of the IPL set to take place soon, some team owners will be undertaking serious rethinking. IPL 2020 showcased the power of teams punching above their weight – particularly Delhi Capital and Kings XI Punjab. This upcoming auction would ensure many team owners infuse some young blood into their teams as aging squads are not firing – such as the Chennai Super Kings.
Team strategies and player combinations played a big role in ensuring close finishes, multiple matches with Super Over results, and four teams vying for the final place in the playoffs until the last of preliminaries. IPL has now created enough momentum for the franchise teams, that they are driving their own sponsorship revenues, digital media strategies, innovative merchandising tie-ups and fan engagement - all three being the most important factors in superior brand value creation.
Now into its 14th edition, IPL brand has weathered the storm and successfully ensured that brand value creation continues, albeit with some brand value erosion. It assures its fans that the brand will be governed with grit and discipline and every stakeholder will adhere to its directions – over rates, field conduct, team in-fighting, and video referrals.Savio D’Souza, Valuation Director, Brand Finance
IPL 2020 was remarkable in multiple ways including how fans could watch. Empty stadiums in the UAE, due to COVID-19, meant fans were exclusively watching live broadcasts of matches. Perhaps surprisingly, compared to last year, the online viewership of matches went down from an average of 18-20 million live viewers to 4-6 million viewers this year. A home lockdown meant TV watching increased, whereas mobile viewing declined. The IPL continues to create enough buzz for its players (especially the young hopefuls), franchises, team sponsors and an image uplift to the Indian sporting economy.
With election results getting declared during the final matches, the IPL brand held strong with its loyal base of fans and ensured a grand finish to a remarkable tournament.
For the purposes of the valuation, the IPL has been treated as a single commercial entity, encompassing business values of all its parts. The income that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the franchises will achieve, and the expenditure that each will incur was aggregated. All cross-charged income and expenditure has been ignored. In addition, the Brand Finance IPL 2020 report ranks the most valuable IPL franchise brands.
Brand Finance has calculated the brand value of the IPL and each of its teams annually since 2009. The remarkable growth in brand value over the past 10 years seen by Mumbai Indians (up 69% from US$41.6 million in 2009) is a real testament to the popularity of the players, team, management and ability to overcome difficulties along the way.
Over the past 13 years, the IPL has firmly made its mark on the cricketing world and resonated far beyond the already huge Indian cricket fan base. When the European soccer leagues were limping back with caution, IPL took the leap of faith by going ahead with the 2020 tournament and pulled it off with negligible controversy.
IPL 20-20 is turning out to be a testing ground for aspiring cricketers. Many India under-19 team players are getting opportunities to showcase their talent. Unknown faces from the hinterland and state-level competitions are getting noticed by the franchise’s hawk-eye coaching teams. Many of these finds are today part of the Indian national team. Many more have found place in their Ranji teams. Few have seen their IPL performance obstruct their national selections.
Funnily enough even the retired India internationals have found demand in overseas cricketing leagues due to their IPL performance. IPL is certainly a hotbed for careers of various shades.
Mumbai Indians have topped the ranking as the most valuable IPL brand this year, following a 7% brand value increase to US$70.3 million.
Their core experienced group, their international experience and camaraderie they share - especially under high pressure moments - was the team’s biggest strength this year. The team’s digital marketing team maintained high engagement with its core fans during the entire tournament – using various marketing mix variables that were effective and created engaging experiences.
MI were the No.1 side on Fair Play Awards table too - a drastic difference from previous years. Right from the start of the tournament, MI maintained a good team composition, clarity of thought, with players performing above their potential.
MI were also the top scorer in the Brand Strength Index (BSI), with a BSI score of 76.9 out of 100 and a corresponding AA+ brand strength rating. MI were the only team to grow both in brand value and brand strength this year.
Chennai Super Kings have suffered a significant 21% brand value drop this year to US$59.8 million, simultaneously dropping from first to second place in the ranking – a position they have managed to hold on to largely due to the team’s legacy. The team’s BSI is 62.4 out of 100.
CSK had a forgettable IPL 2020 – with a team that broke apart even before the tournament started. The thinktank was built around a strong core of domestic and international players and in Indian sub-continent conditions have been formidable ever since the beginning of the IPL in 2008.
CSK continued to back their core group - the most experienced and highest-quality spin core -and has relied on the ‘experience factor’ of its players. Since the pandemic lockdown, not much professional cricket had been played for over 9 months and more than half of the CSK squad hadn’t played cricket for much longer as they had retired from national duties. CSK players were rusty, misfired and started doubting themselves early in the tournament. The brand waned, missing its massive fan army support in the empty stadiums.
Kolkata Knight Riders are ranked third this year, the team’s brand value falling 12% to US$58.4 million. KKR’s brand strength has rapidly dropped in the last couple of years, its BSI score falling 8 points this year to 61.3 out of 100.
While most of the IPL teams have formidable top order and a middle order in supporting role, KKR have always had a destructive and reliable middle order. This year, this middle core of KKR failed to fire in crucial matches.
Adding to the woes was an indifferent form of bowlers that dragged KKR down the points table. The change of captain midway also didn’t help the cause. KKR has always been a team that swelled in the support of its fan clubs, full stadiums and the whole euphoria around the IPL. The empty stadiums and missing fans affected the team significantly.
During the peak of its glory in IPL 2012-15, KKR was powered by a strategic thinktank of coaches and support staff, which seemed to be a missing piece in the performance jigsaw. Given the huge names, formidable line up, and winning reputation, KKR this year has been a reluctant team in every match they have played.
Ranked in 4th position, Sunrisers Hyderabad’s brand value has declined 4% to US$57.4 million. The team is the 3rd strongest brand in this year’s ranking with a BSI score of 67.0 out of 100.
In David Warner and Jonny Bairstow, Sunrisers Hyderabad has had the most destructive opening pair in the IPL 2020. SRH’s brand is also built around strong coaching staff that has been consistent over the years.
The team’s digital marketing team created innovative engagement experiences with the fan clubs. As a team, they managed a clean image throughout the tournament – both on and off the pitch. Apart from a formidable opening pair, the team also had the best group of bowlers and the ground fielding unit – the team were relentless in each match and showed the spirit of never giving up.
Delhi Capitals are ranked in 5th position, following a small 4% brand value decrease to US$52.2 million. They are, however, the second strongest team in the ranking, with a BSI score of 70.5 and a corresponding AA brand strength rating.
With a strong Indian core of players, Delhi possessed perhaps the finest core in the IPL 2020, which almost got them the elusive trophy. Often an overlooked aspect of winning games in the high-pressure IPL is the coaching staff and DC is home to outstanding coaching staff. The coaching staff has been monumental in molding a lot of youngsters in Delhi last year and has built it further in 2020.
The confidence from the last season has surely kept their spirits high and the team believed that they can be winners. DC were a team that punched above their weight – with all team members eager to contribute to the win.
Sitting in 6th spot is the Royal Challengers Bangalore, with a brand value of US$49.7 million (down 2%) and their BSI score is 66.1 out of 100.
The brilliance of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers continued to be the pillars of RCB for IPL 2020. The team has found new match winning stars in Devdutt Padikkal, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal and Mohammed Siraj this year, giving the team a new balance.
Negative energy of past losses gradually converted to positivity, allowing RCB to qualify in the play-offs. The RCB team gained from a newfound belief during the tournament, and the heavy weight of expectations from the global greats of Virat Kohli and AB De Villiers finally started easing. RCB made final play-offs exciting and the brand added a lot more spice into the tournament.
The RCB brand is gradually shedding its Atlas image in IPL 2020.
Kings XI Punjab claim 7th spot, with a brand value of US$38.0 million (down 9%). Their BSI score is 61.2 out of 100.
The new leadership group, coaching staff and strategic thinktank, free of the burden of past failures, did wonders for Punjab.
KXIP, similar to the last couple of seasons, started off strongly but wavered in the mid-stages of the tournament. A fabulous finish in the league stages set this team against the best in IPL 2020.
Team coherence is slowly emerging behind new leadership. The team are gaining in confidence, to levels never seen before in the last 12 years. The team has exhibited free flowing cricket and a fearless attitude, that continued to grow as the tournament progressed.
This year, Rajasthan Royals’ brand value has dropped 16% to US$36.4 million and their BSI score is 57.1 out of 100.
Rajasthan Royals had the most destructive and reliable overseas core, with all of them active in international cricket – including a formidable captain, the fastest bowler, and strong all-rounders.
RR have always been known for their young talent and this bunch of young fearless cricketers didn’t disappoint in 2020 either. RR’s overreliance on overseas players and lack of team coherence was the team’s undoing. In IPL 2020, this was the team that created the wow factor for their phenomenal chases, fearful bowling and incredible six-hitting. The team couldn’t sustain its brilliance, however, as they blew hot and cold throughout the tournament and missed the playoffs by a whisker. A revamped coaching and backup staff would definitely turn this team in years to come.