How Can the IPL Make Even More Money?

How Can the IPL Make Even More Money?

For the short fifteen seasons of its existence since its creation in 2008, the Indian Premier League has been growing in popularity in the country and abroad.

Updated: May 31, 2022 6:34 AM IST | Edited By: Sajal Patra

It's a Rich, Rich Business

For the short fifteen seasons of its existence since its creation in 2008, the Indian Premier League has been growing in popularity in the country and abroad, making itself and the participating teams and athletes richer and richer. The top T20 tournament is a glamorous parade of cricket legends, superstars, celebrities and money, lots of money.

Sony Entertainment paid 820 crore every year for the broadcasting and media rights of the IPL between 2008 and 2017, or a total of 8,200 crore. The money is paid to the BCCI (the Board of Control for Cricket in India), but is shared among all teams with a cut left for the apex body on cricket in the country.

In 2018, the price of the IPL media rights doubled and the contractual time frame shrank twofold, as Star Sports paid 16,347 for the right to broadcast for the next five years. This was equal to 3,269.4 per year, an almost quadrupled price compared to Sony's 'modest' 820 crore.

The IPL title sponsorship is another major financial contributor, as the price that TATA Group will pay for each of the next two seasons is 335 crore. Between 2018 and 2022, the title sponsorship rights were contracted to Chinese mobile phone manufacturer Vivo for a reported total of 2,190 crore, or 438 crore per season.

After the skirmishes between Indian and Chinese military units at Galwan valley, the 2020 IPL sponsorship title was given to the country's first gaming unicorn, the online fantasy platform Dream11, for a consideration of 222 crore. After that, Vivo returned as the title sponsorship holder due to its higher offer.

The BCCI keeps half of the title sponsorship proceeds, the other 50 percent are distributed among the participating teams. In addition to that, every team signs its own sponsorship contracts roping in significant revenues. The proceeds generated through sale of tickets and team merchandise are also not to be underestimated, even if temporarily lowered due to the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.

IPL Betting is Bigger than the IPL Itself, But is Still Mostly Illegal

The most modest industry estimates evaluate the size of the Indian sports betting market at 3 lakh crore (roughly $40 billion), while other assessments reach as high as 11.5 lakh crore ($150 billion). The figures include all offline and online, legal and illegal channels, with the largest share attributed to the black market. Reportedly, cricket and IPL betting in particular take up an estimated 80 percent of all Indian betting on sports making cricket and IPL satta bigger than the IPL itself.

As per evaluations by the All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) from 2017, illegal cricket betting on Team India alone leads to lost profits of around 2 lakh crore (roughly $26 billion in current exchange rates), with the amount only going higher in the past five years. Adding IPL satta to the AIGF estimation would raise the figure multifold.

Regulation on Sports Betting in India would Bring a Variety of Benefits for All

A move towards a national-wide recognition and legalization of the existing sports and cricket betting market in India combined with a comprehensible regulatory framework would bring a wide variety of benefits to the country, the sports, the current and future athletes, and for the public.

The very fact itself of rendering many lakhs of crores of rupees exit black market and hawala channels and enter traceable, accountable and taxable financial flows would bring profound changes to the field. Besides substantially raising revenues for the exchequer, the BCCI and the teams, traceable betting and regulation would mean raising the integrity of the sports by limiting the instances of match-fixing.

The team themselves will see new large players enter the bids for sponsorship rights in the face of big Indian and international betting companies raising the stakes even higher. The higher tax collection can be used to build more IPL sports infrastructure and training centers which would eventually inspire and bring in new talent from the country's youth.

Another important game changer that the legalization of sports betting can ensure to the wide public is the enhanced customer protection that modern regulation in the digital era can bring, contrary to the black market which easily tramples its participants underfoot.

With reported 140 million regular sports punters and a total of 370 bettors around prominent sporting events, the desi public would be the biggest beneficiary of a contemporary and educated regulatory framework focused on gamer protection.

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