The Indian Premier League 2011 is a behemoth. This is known to most of us, but what was unknown to me is the scale of monies involved. Sure, I had heard the cricket economy in India was a gargantuan beast and the IPL was at the heart of it. I had heard ridiculous statistics during lunch conversations with Indian colleagues about how Dhoni who endorses 25-plus brands, rakes in an average of 10 crores per brand. Recently the Open Magazine carried an article on Dhoni calling him the 230 crore man (and this was before his World Cup final winning sixer). This seemed a bit strange given that the net worth of Shahrukh Khan's endorsements is much lower.
Recently, I had also heard that the two new IPL teams based out of Pone and Cochi were each worth in excess of USD 230 million. But I didn't quite put in context these astronomical sums in the context of Indian realities. And frankly, I often sensed hyperbole in these statistics.
This report from Sports Intelligence - a ranking of the wealthiest sports leagues globally - was therefore, very edifying, and surprising.
According to this report, the IPL is the second wealthiest league in the world, with the average starting-11 cricketer raking in a whopping £48,000 per week. The NBA came out on top with £51,800, and the mighty English Premier League a lowly fourth, with £28,000 per week.
Of course, the number of teams/franchises playing IPL are half the number of teams playing in the EPL. And the EPL lasts for a year while the IPL lasts only for a month and a half.
But bear in mind that the IPL is only three seasons old, is perfectly tailored for a television audience in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Dubai (and even England), and has demonstrated a business model that is nothing if not scalable. More on this later.