Marketing strategies of IPL

By Priya Chetty on September 18, 2011

The main driver of revenues for sports these days is television and cricket is no exception. The media has played a role in highlighting very large broadcast deals for sports like football and cricket. Sports clubs generate substantial revenues from channels through sponsorship and merchandising, which runs into billions every year. Similarly, the major revenue stream for the IPL is sponsorship, sale of broadcast rights and gate receipts (website, IMR publications).

Marketing strategies of IPL

The IPL has followed an array of marketing and branding strategies in order to popularize the franchise. Most of which have been enormously successful. Some of these strategies include:

  • Creating online traffic through blog published by IPL franchise owner and Bollywood megastar Shahrukh Khan.
  • Hiring international cheerleaders.
  • Organizing talent shows across the country and telecasting maximum advertisements during matches on prime times.
  • For instance, Delhi Daredevils owner Religare, an investment firm had invested Rs. 40 million annually in branding and marketing its team (Website, SifySports). Its marketing strategies include selling merchandise such as the players’ jerseys.

The tournament’s official advertising and marketing strategies are planned and executed by Ogilvy and Mather, world’s premier advertising firm. With television, radio, print and outdoor advertisements like the “Cricket ka Karmayudh”, the creators have managed to generate more hype and a loyal fan base.

Sponsorship from some of the world’s most popular brands such as Nokia, Tag Heuer, The Telegraph and Belmonte has also managed to create an advertising blitzkrieg. For instance, Nokia has followed a 360-degree approach with a judicious mix of print, electronic and digital media. It has also carried out road shows in cities like Kolkata in April 2010 (Website, SifySports).

Overall, some of the marketing strategies adopted by IPL in its three years of existence can be listed as follows:

  • Auctioning the different radio and TV channels.
  • Advertising the important thing that is talked about in which the foreign girls attracting a huge crowd [Bosscher V D, 2006].
  • Worldwide telecast.
  • Auctioning the players participating in the tournament of IPL.
  • The locations or the place chosen for the cricket matches is a strategic choice of places which are named after the franchisees which helped to attract the people [Mao P, 2002].
  • The timing of IPL has shown its strategic application by choosing the evening time for the matches, which makes the people to watch the game comfortably and with enjoyment.
  • The gala of the opening ceremony is encountered with a Live Concert.
  • The franchises are taken by the film stars like Juhi Chawla, Shahrukh Khan, Preity Zinta etc are the center of attraction which makes the Bollywood stars come for the game [Boyle R, 2000].
  • The commentators are not less than the use of phrases that pleased the sponsors made them to pay more.
  • The Indian Premier League uses Bollywood stars as anchors. The promotion is done by Akshay Kumar for Delhi daredevils and Shahrukh Khan for Kolkata knight riders.

The marketing strategies and strong branding initiatives have helped the tournament attain an overall brand value of USD 4.1 billion in 2010 (Website, All Business). Although the English Premier League is valued much more at USD 12 billion, researchers are of the opinion that the IPL has much better prospects of growth, fuelled by audience and sponsors.

In March 2010, the tournament announced a brand new, enormous marketing campaign worth USD 30 million on promoting the league through channels such as television, newspapers, Internet and mobiles (Mint News report). The major drive behind creating the strategy was to invoke team loyalty among the audiences. It is set to be bigger, with marketing campaigns going global in the next 2 years. The strategies are formulated on positioning IPL as an entertainment arena rather than just a match.


  • Bosscher V D, A Conceptual Framework for Analyzing Sports Policy Factors Leading to International Sporting Success, 2006.
  • Mao P, Adventure Sports and Tourism in the French Mountains: Dynamics of Change and Challenges for Sustainable Development, 2002.
  • Boyle R, Power Play: Sport, the Media and Popular Culture, 2000.


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