When the concept of a franchise-based T20 league in India was proposed in 2007, very few people thought the league, the Indian Premier League (IPL), would be so successful. At that time, the importance of international cricket was huge, and every aspiring cricketer wanted to be a part of it. But things have changed drastically, and players are relinquishing their national contracts to opt to represent their franchises.
So, what are the factors that bring the change? With cricket already being the most popular sport in the country, IPL utilized that factor to the fullest with some excellent marketing strategies. The league has been able to attract the most prominent names in cricket, and thus, the quality of the game has also improved over the years. Due to the popularity of the league, the IPL has gained many lucrative sponsorship deals and has eventually become one of the richest leagues in the world.
Where does IPL stand when it is compared with EPL?
The rapid progress of IPL has caught the eyes of many pundits of sports to such an extent that the 15-year-old cricket league is frequently being compared with the English Premier League (EPL), which started in 1992, sixteen years before IPL. Some say IPL has exceeded EPL and gotten bigger than the football league, and on the other hand, many people hold the opinion that IPL has a long way to go to match EPL’s success. Let’s find out the answer by analyzing some factors.
When it comes to average attendance in the stadium, both EPL and IPL rank among the top 10 leagues in the world. According to a report published in March 2022, the average crowd in an EPL match is 37,400, whereas IPL records an average of 32,800 spectators in a single game. IPL is not too far behind, and if the cricket stadiums’ sitting capacity in India increases, then IPL should match and even exceed the numbers of EPL.
A research found that 3.2 billion people have watched the 2018-19 season of the English Premier League. By comparison, IPL 2021 was able to attract a viewership of around 380 million. It may seem that IPL is way behind EPL, but one must take into consideration the duration of the two leagues. EPL runs for 9 months, whereas IPL is a two-month-long affair.
When the Board of Control for Cricket India (BCCI) invited tenders for media rights for IPL 2023-27, it created a stir among the interested parties. The TV rights for the Indian sub-continent were bought by Disney Star for a price of ₹23,575 Crore. Viacom18 bagged digital rights in India and both TV and digital for Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa at a price of ₹23,758 Crore. For media coverage in the Middle East and the USA, Times Internet paid ₹258 Crore.
The combined media rights stood at ₹48,390 Crore which is approximately $6.2 Billion. There will be 410 IPL matches in that 5-year cycle, and thus per match value amounts to $15.1 Million. That amount has exceeded English Premier League’s per-match value, which stands at $11.23 Million.
According to PlanetFootball, a football-based website, EPL clubs have spent £1.5 Billion (₹15,121 Crore approx.) on players’ wages in the 2021-22 season. On the other hand, for the 2022 edition of IPL, which follows an auction-based pay structure, each franchise had a purse of ₹90 Crore, which accumulated to ₹900 Crore considering all IPL teams. In this regard, the disparity is huge, and IPL is nowhere close to EPL. Although it must be noted that for IPL 2008, the inaugural season, each team had a salary cap of $5 Million (₹20 Crore approx.), and almost one and a half decades later, the cap has been increased by 450%.
In the fifteen years of its existence, the IPL has grown to such heights that it has become one of the most followed professional leagues around the world. Very few would have thought that the T20 league would be comparable to the successful brand of EPL.
It is true that EPL is still ahead in various aspects, but the ever-increasing valuation of IPL is an indication that the cricket league is catching up and is expected to match the numbers of the UK-based league in the future.
Q1:- What is the difference between the structure of IPL and EPL?
Ans:- EPL entirely follows a league-based structure, with home and away games and no knockout rounds or playoffs, whereas playoff rounds are in place in IPL, where 4 teams qualify from a league-based format.
Q2:- How many foreign players are there in the two leagues – IPL and EPL?
Ans:- In IPL, each team can sign up to 8 overseas players, which means at a certain time, a total of 80 overseas players from ten teams can play in IPL. At the beginning of the 2022-23 EPL season, there were 371 non-English players.
Q3:- How many clubs have won EPL, and how many franchises have been able to lift the IPL trophy?
Ans:- As of now, 7 clubs have won the EPL championship. In IPL also, 7 franchises have won the coveted title.