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Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings ranks no 1 in brand and business enterprise value: Report

Houlihan Lokey's IPL Valuation Study 2023 stated that the league's brand and business value have both increased by 80 percent

Naini Thaker
Published: Jul 11, 2023 03:26:54 PM IST
Updated: Jul 11, 2023 03:39:14 PM IST

Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings ranks no 1 in brand and business enterprise value: ReportJioCinema set a new record for the highest concurrent viewership, when close to 32 million viewers tuned in to watch the Gujarat Titans versus Chennai Super Kings finale during IPL 2023; Image: Pankaj Nangia/Getty Images

The Indian premier league’s (IPL) brand value is at $3.2 billion in 2023, from $1.8 billion in 2022, an increase of 80 percent, according to Houlihan Lokey’s IPL Valuation Study 2023. The league’s business value also saw an increase of 80 percent and is worth $15.4 billion in 2023. One of the main reasons for this increase is the media rights deal with JioCinema and Disney Star, which is 3x the price of the five-year deal between Disney Star and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in 2017.

As per the report, the media rights are expected to further increase during the next cycle. So far, the media rights have grown at a CAGR of 18 percent, between 2008 and 2023. “The IPL is expected to go global by the next cycle in 2027 on similar lines to EPL, which would further enhance the growth in its revenue from broadcasting rights,” stated the report.

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) was the number one IPL franchisee in terms of brand valuation, with $212 million in 2023, witnessing a growth of 45.2 percent from $146 million last year. Reason? Without a doubt the team’s captain MS Dhoni’s cult fan following and five title wins. This has helped in creating a strong brand identity.

Following CSK is Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) at number two. The team’s brand value grew by 52.3 percent to $195 million in 2023, from $128 million in 2022. With a lot of popularity on social media and the presence of Virat Kohli, the brand has been a fan favourite for years now.

At number three is another cult favourite—Mumbai Indians (MI). Another five-title winner, the franchisee is known for creating next-gen superstars, including the likes of Suryakumar Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya and many others. Under Rohit Sharma’s leadership, the team’s brand value in 2023 is at $190 million, up by 34.8 percent from $141 million last year. Gujarat Titans (GT) is another fast-growing brand, that sponsors are keen to tie-up with. In its first year, the team managed to bag a title under the captaincy of Hardik Pandya and were finalists during IPL 2023.

Also read: At 42, Mahendra Singh Dhoni continues to rule cricket

Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings ranks no 1 in brand and business enterprise value: Report

IPL teams have been seeing an uptick in the number of companies—from startups to legacy brands—who wish to be associated with them. “The franchises themselves have smartly created newer assets and associations that go beyond just the presence of a brand name on their jerseys to absorb and accommodate this growing demand,” says Bhairav Shanth, managing director, ITW Consulting. If a team has a player with a lot of star power, such as MS Dhoni or Virat Kohli, it does help the team in terms of getting sponsors. Adds Shanth, “Franchises themselves are aware of this, and this is why you often see a premium being charged by someone like, say, an RCB as compared to Punjab Kings. The guidelines do not allow sponsors to use individual players in their ads or marketing collateral, but brands naturally feature the star they are gunning for in every ad [among the stipulated minimum of three players].”

Also read: IPL's taking the game deep despite a tough economy

Record-breaking viewership

IPL 2023 was showcased on JioCinema for free, after the digital rights were bought by the platform. The platform set a new record for the highest concurrent viewership, when close to 32 million viewers tuned in to watch the GT versus CSK finale. In fact, the viewership was at record highs twice more this season: 25 million for Qualifier 1, and 24 million for the CSK vs RCB match. Even the television broadcasting partner Disney Star saw the highest viewership numbers in the IPL’s history, with a 482 million cumulative viewership for the first 66 matches, according to BARC.

Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings ranks no 1 in brand and business enterprise value: ReportThis was a welcome change after declining viewership in IPL 2022, particularly during the first four weeks. The report stated that each week was showing a 30 to 35 percent drop in viewership as compared to the previous year. “It was believed that the Indian audience was experiencing what is called IPL fatigue,” the report said. With the digital rights moving to JioCinema, the platform adopted a different strategy—free streaming of the IPL. Clearly, the strategy worked, with record breaking viewership for IPL 2023.

“Besides the exponential growth in brand and business enterprise valuation of the IPL and the franchisees, it is interesting to note the prominent shift towards acceptance of digital platforms for sports consumption. Viacom18’s strategic push towards promoting digital viewership in India has undeniably reignited the much-needed excitement surrounding the IPL,” said Harsh Talikoti, senior vice president, Corporate Valuation Advisory Services at Houlihan Lokey.

Also read: How Brand WPL will be built over the long term

Not just IPL, even the Women’s Premier League (WPL) attracted a lot of eyeballs, due to the bidding wars during the auction. The media rights were bought by Viacom18 (both television and digital rights) for $120 million. On a per-match basis, this is the highest in the world among women’s sporting leagues, stated the report. The final of the WPL, between Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals had more than 10 million new viewers tuning in.

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