Key marketing IPL milestones over the years

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In its fifth season, IPL promises to be bigger and better. But has cricket fatigue crept in? Will India’s poor performance lately in international tournaments affect the audience response. We will know soon. But let’s go down the memory lane and see what have been the biggest IPL Milestones over the years:

The Indian Premiere League established by BCCI

2008: IPL SEASON 1

  • The first ever franchise auction fetched $US$723.59 million. Each franchise was auctioned for: Mumbai Indians for $111.9 million, Bangalore Royal Challengers for $111.6 million, Hyderabad Deccan Chargers for $107 million, Chennai Super Kings for $91 million, Delhi DareDevils for $84 million, Kings XI Punjab for $76 million, Kolkata Knight Riders for $75.09 million and Rajasthan Royals for $67 million.
  • A consortium consisting of India’s Sony Entertainment Television network and Singapore-based World Sport Group secured the global broadcasting rights of the Indian Premier League. The record deal has duration of ten years at a cost of US$1.026 billion. Later, the deal was revised in the second season because of a controversy.


  • DLF bags the title sponsorship rights for IPL for five years at a cost of Rs 40 crore per annum, making the deal worth Rs 200 crore. And Hero Honda bagged the co-sponsor deal for 5 years for Rs 90 lakh.


  • IPL Season 1 kicks off creating the best marketing cocktail with two key ingredients that Indians are most passionate about: cricket and movies.


  • During season 1, IPL reached out to 10.24 crore viewers.
  • Kolkata KnightRiders (KKR) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) were the only franchise to make profits. KKR made a profit of Rs 8 crore and RR of Rs 5 crore.
  • BCCI emerged as the most successful marketer with a profit of Rs 350 crore from IPL 1 alone while in 2007 its overall profits were Rs 235 crore.
  • The first season of the great Indian marketing cocktail has been estimated to add Rs 300 crore to the TV advertising pie in 2008. Overall, 482 hours of advertising (in stadia, n screen and commercial breaks) was there in IPL 1.
  • Aircel, a well known telecom brand first started advertising at IPL Season 1. It sponsored Chennai SuperKings. The IPL eyeballs made the brand a household name.

2009: IPL SEASON 2

  • IPL season 2 began with controversy. SET MAX, the official broadcaster signed on-air deal with Airtel Digital TV as a presenting sponsor for DTH broadcast. Big TV, which paid Rs 137 core as the ground sponsor for IPL, protested the Sony-Bharti deal and called off its own deal with the broadcaster. The controversy aggravated so much that Multi Screen Media, CEO Kunal Dasgupta resigned and later Sony had to revise its $1.026 billion deal to $1.6 billion in order to keep the broadcast rights.


  • Another round of controversies were brewing surrounding elections and securities, and thus at the last moment IPL commissioner Lalit Modi decides to take the league to South Africa.
  • Fake IPL Player blog started the same day the IPL 2 tournament. Then written anonymously, the blog became a rage within a few days. According to digital agency Pinstorm, the fake IPL player blog had at its peak, on 26 April with 1.5 crore visitors which is quite good considering that celebrity blogs like Amir Khan was at its peak garnering 1.7 crore visits. The blogger remained anonymous for this season.
  • This was also the season where once again marketing won over the game and thus strategy breaks were introduced after 10 overs of game in each inning to incorporate more advertisers who were keen to get associated with the event.
  • One of the most popular mascot and campaign was launched in IPL season2 which became a huge success in taking the brand further that was the Vodafone ZooZoo campaign.


  • IPL season 2 has been estimated to add Rs 500 crore to the TV advertising pie in 2009. Overall, 625 hours of advertising (in stadia, screen and commercial breaks) were there in IPL 2.
  • Season 2, reached out to about 12.27 crore TV Viewers.

2010: IPL SEASON 3

  • The Fake IPL Player released a book – ‘The Gamechangers’ which was loosely based on the contents of his blogs. The book marketed as a work of fiction and written anonymously. The June 7, 2010 issue of India Today put The Gamechangers at ninth position in the list of Top 10 national bestsellers.
  • Vodafone ZooZoo which became a rage in IPL 2 returned for a new innings in IPL 3. The game crossed another milestone when leading tyre brand MRF paid Rs 15 crore to become blimp sponsor of the tournament. It was the first time in India that a blimp was deployed in a sports event. The brand value of IPL reaches $4.13 billion, according to Brand Finance Report.


  • IPL 3 saw the daddy of controversies with IPL Chief Lalit Modi’s suspension.


  • Despite the controversies, IPL 3 has been estimated to add Rs 700 crore to the TV advertising pie in 2010. In absolute viewer terms, IPL season 3, viewership reach was 14.37 crore.


  • The Fake IPL Player identity was revealed. He was a marketing professional named Anupam Mukerji based in Bangalore.

2011: IPL SEASON 4

  • IPL Players auction goes live on TV. For the first time a sports auction is shown live on TV. Marketers pay Rs 50,000 for a 10 second slot, which is five time more than the usual rate for a day time slot.


  • The IPL Season 3 controversies about transparency and match fixing in the league and suspension of IPL commissioner Lalit Modi, led to a fall in brand IPL and its value stood at $3.67 billion (Source: Brand Finance Report). Top 3 franchise with highest brand values were Mumbai Indians with a brand value of $57.13 million, followed by Chennai Super Kings with $55.37 million and Royal Challengers Bangalore, with a brand value of of $47.58 million


  • There are about 70 sponsors on board for IPL Season 4 which is a good number considering that many marketers spent a huge chunk on the World Cup which was won by India.
  • Vodafone, Pepsi and Coca-Cola were the most recalled brands on IPL 4 as revealed by a study by Ormax Media.
  • IPL Season4 added about Rs 1000 crore to the TV advertising pie in 2011.
  • For the first time IPL matches streamed live on Internet by Times Internet Limited (TIL), in partnership with YouTube, which resulted taking online viewership of sports to a record 72 million in India.

About the author / 

Abhinav Mohapatra

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