The Indian Premier League has become a mega-spectacle within the country but the tournament is set to expand its frontiers. Rajeev Shukla, the IPL chairman, has hinted that the next goal was to capture interest overseas, even in non-traditional cricket markets such as the United States of America, by using ‘fan parks’ as a vehicle of expansion.
“In cities where we don’t host matches, we organise fan parks where we invite people to watch the match on the big screen. So 20,000-30,000 people are coming to the fan parks. Now we are planning to take it overseas, to places like Dubai, the UK and also America,” Shukla told AFP.
Shukla went on to claim that the IPL was the second most ‘important’ tournament in the world after football’s English Premier League.
Shukla has good reason to feel buoyant, considering IPL bagged a massive Rs 16,347.5 crore ($US 2.55 billion) broadcast deal with Star Sports for a five-year period from 2018 to 2022. That works out to each IPL game earning a whopping $8.5 million in Indian television rights alone. In comparison, the EPL makes $11 million from broadcast revenues in UK alone, according to figures quoted by AFP.
“We are not able to figure out where it (broadcast rights and sponsorship) will peak… but I think after the EPL, this is the most important league. It can match any league,” Shukla said. “The fan following and the viewers are increasing every year. In terms of revenue, it’s also doing wonderfully well.”