Now established for more than ten years, the Indian Premier League (IPL) is recognized as an elite sporting competition. It is the richest cricket league in the world and attracts the best players on an annual basis.
Designed to complement major international matches and even some of the other major domestic leagues in world cricket, the IPL has found its place at the center of the cricketing calendar and is anticipated with excitement every year.
But how did this fantastical idea evolve into becoming such an integral part of the modern game? Here, we explore the origins of the IPL, the momentum gathered, and what makes it such a compelling concept for players, supporters, and sponsors.
— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) October 25, 2020
The Indian Cricket League (ICL) was established in 2007 and caused plenty of controversies when it set up a rebel league. In response, the Indian governing body threatened to ban players from joining the new competition and set about creating its own.
The new league sought to establish a brand as big on the sporting landscape as the Premier League or the NBA. So, the competition’s organizers began to engage with prospective franchise investors who could be entrusted to build each competing club.
After that, the cities set to compete in the inaugural IPL were announced: Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Mohali, and Mumbai with each new franchise selling for an average of $700m. The league was then ready to go!
The big money washing around the IPL made it an immediate draw for players, and the competition on the field was intense, to say the least. The players were already paid handsomely, but bonus payments for winning the competition added an extra incentive.
For this reason, in addition to the high status of participating in such an elite competition, there has been no shortage of challengers for the IPL crown. The latest cricket betting odds in any given season typically show very little between the sides at the start of the season, although two to three major contenders generally emerge as the season progresses.
A Global Audience
The world’s best players – arriving to compete in the league and snap up the great payments available – helped engage with some of the world’s leading broadcasters. Today, cricket fans watch games live on a global scale can watch the games live or catch up with the latest highlights.
Internationally, cricket has always succeeded in engaging with a worldwide audience of the sport’s followers, but domestic competitions generally struggle to capture the imagination of a casual audience.
The IPL has changed all that and enjoys an international cut-through, in cricketing nations like England, South Africa, and New Zealand, unlike any other domestic league. It has truly developed into a global phenomenon.
— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) May 2, 2021
In the 13 years that have passed since the competition’s establishment, the IPL has grown almost beyond all recognition to become a true cricketing juggernaut. Its global reach means it can be truly considered India’s sporting gift to the world.