In recent years, however, cricket has been brought to the attention of the
world’s commercial interest by the Indian Premier League, which blends
Twenty20 cricket with the format of American franchise sports (see Figure
5.3). Established by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in 2007, it
harnesses the economic power of the widespread passion for cricket in India
and amongst the Indian diaspora. The initial auction for the eight franchises
in January 2008 raised $723.59 million, compared to the base price of $400
million, with Mumbai being the most expensive team being bought for $111.9
million by Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries.
In 2010, two new fran-
chises (Pune and Kotchi) were sold for almost $800 million. These were to
replace the Rajasthan Royals and King’s IX Punjab, which had been expelled
for corruption, but were later readmitted after addressing certain issues. With
the extra franchises, the IPL has moved into a group stage/knockout stage for-
mat, from the previous round-robin, due to the increase in potential matches
from 60 to 94; 74 games will now be played.
The IPL as become a commercially important tournament for professional
cricketers worldwide, who put themselves forward to be bought in the an-
nual player auctions. This is not only because it is cricketers’ only opportunity
to earn the sums of money usually reserved for footballers and golfers, but
because it is held in March and April, when there is little cricket held in the
rest of the world. In 2010, the IPL became the first sporting event ever to be
broadcast live on YouTube. Its brand value was estimated to be around $4.13
billion the same year.
According to global sports salaries review, the IPL is
the second highest-paid league, on the basis of first-team pro-rata salaries,
and surpassed only by the NBA. The average salary of an IPL player over a
year is estimated to be $3.84 million.
The 2011 auction saw the ten teams
buy 125 players for a total of $61.5 million, with the Kolkata Knight Riders
paying the most for their players ($8.57 million, out of a cap of $9 million).
GUARDING THE GAME Preserving the Integrity of Sport
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