The Indian Premier League has come a long way in recent years and is one of the fastest growing sporting leagues in the world, attracting big name players, sponsors and owners alike. But how does it compare to the world’s richest leagues, is it the richest cricket league in the world, and if not, how far from the top of the rich list is it?
IPL vs Other Cricket Leagues and Indian Leagues
The list of the 80 wealthiest leagues in the world of sport is littered with soccer leagues, which will come as no surprise. What will be a surprise, however, is that the IPL is the only cricket league in sight. This is a huge sport, one that is often classed as the second most popular based on total spectators, but for whatever reason nothing can come close to the IPL.
Many of the issues here is that we don’t have official earnings for the teams involved in other cricket leagues, but even if we look at the evidence that is available and use this to add other leagues to the list, the IPL is still by far the richest cricket league in the world.
It’s also the richest league in India, and by quite some way. The IPL has an estimated average value of around $40 million to $45 million per team, while the Indian Super League (soccer) has an estimated value of under $7 million per team.
IPL vs Other Leagues
The National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB) and English Premier League (EPL) are ranked as the three richest leagues in the world, with revenue well into the billions of dollars. The Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) league, which is Japan’s biggest league, is also one of the ten riches leagues in the world, which means that baseball has a good claim for being one of the world’s three richest sports.
The Indian Premier League is a little further down the list. If you base it on brand value alone, which is calculated using everything from the value of the teams to sponsorship and prize money, then the Indian Premier League is 18th on the list. It’s behind the third richest baseball league, Korea Professional Baseball (KPB), and it’s also behind 9 soccer leagues (including the top-tiers in China, Russia and Japan) as well as the world’s biggest basketball, hockey and auto racing leagues.
However, it’s ahead of the Australian Football League (AFL), which is the biggest league in Australia and the biggest league for the entire sport of Aussie Rules Football; the Top 14, which is the world’s richest rugby union league; and National Rugby League (NRL), which is the world’s biggest rugby league competition.
It’s also ahead of the biggest sporting leagues in the Netherlands, the entire Middle-East and all of Scandinavia. There is no doubt that it has a long way to go and it’s still roughly a tenth of the value of the EPL and around a twentieth of the NFL, but it’s the biggest in the sport, the country, and for miles around, and that’s not bad for a league that was founded only 12 years ago.
The IPL is also one of the fastest growing leagues on the list of the top 20 richest leagues. It is been driven by increased sponsorship and TV licensing and there is also a huge cricket betting market in India and around the world driving it higher. If it continues to grow at the rate it is growing right now, then by the time it is as old as the EPL (27 years) it could easily be one of the five richest leagues in the world.
The Richest Teams in the World
On the list of the 50 richest teams in the world there isn’t a single cricket team in sight, but it’s a league dominated by a handful of super-rich sports (American football, soccer, baseball and basketball mainly) and there are many other notable omissions as well.
It wouldn’t be fair to compare these teams to cricket teams as they simply haven’t been around for as long. Of the ten richest teams in the world, for instance, the youngest (New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys) were founded in 1959, while the oldest IPL teams have just over a decade of experience behind them.
The 50th ranked team on this list is valued at just under $2 billion, compared to the $50 to $100 million value of IPL teams. Based on this, there is a long way to go before any of these teams can nudge their way onto the rich list, but if they continue signing the big players and getting the big sponsorships, it could happen in the next decade.
The sport itself will also need to increase and to become more popular in countries like the United States and across Europe, as this is where the big money is, but the IPL is doing just that and this league, in addition to many other recently formed domestic leagues and international competitions, could help cricket teams to edge onto the rich list.