IPL’s value down 11% to $3.67 bn as honeymoon period is over: BrandFinance

MUMBAI: As India‘s cricket board is trying to clean up its biggestcricket-entertainment property, there are still questions looming over the business model of the Indian Premier League (IPL). The addition of two teams has only added to the financial woes as the overall brand value of the IPL has eroded.

The IPL is valued at $3.67 billion, down 11 per cent from $4.13 billion a year-ago, as there are dark clouds raised over governance policies, according to BrandFinance India, the company which specialises in brand valuations. 
“The IPL juggernaut has hit a speed breaker with an erosion of $460 million of its long-term value. As costs like players‘ wages rise, the early commercial success of IPL will be tested and the honeymoon is well and truly over,” BrandFinance India MD M Unni Krishnan said.

The IPL branded ecosystem’s long–term sustainability is being subjected to a “stress test” from various forces. IPL’s sustainability will, thus, largely depend on infusing governance policies to align all the stakeholders towards win–win relationships and thereby preserving the value in the long run.
The BrandFinance report noted that much of the brand’s initial value was built through a range of attention getting activities, which now needs to be consolidated through values driven patronage across all stakeholders.

The report chalked out various factors on which the business model as a whole will be dependent. These are:

  • Ability to institutionalise governance processes to safeguard IPL’s ability to inspire trust flows across stakeholders which will sustain the business model’s cash flows.

  • Prudent financial management and corporate discipline to ensure commercial success at an individual franchisee level as costs like player’s wages shoot up.

  • Nurture and establish new, or improved, revenue streams so that franchisees can leverage their popularity through more diverse merchandising or new income streams.

  • Retaining the engagement levels with current and potential fan bases even as young Indians get exposed to new game formats and interest in other sports.

  • Stickiness of sponsors who may have more options. Initial enthusiasm could wane in the light of IPL’s own economic performance.
    The report, however, conceded that despite all the challenges, the IPL has remained a robust asset. "Its owners face a choice. Either they can reform the system inside out or face a meltdown in the not so distant future," the report cautioned.

At a broader level, the IPL is emblematic of Indian commercial and sporting prowess to the world. Oddly enough, the IPL also represents the dark microcosm of an epidemic of corruption and short–term frenzy to make a fast buck which has swept India like an avalanche over the last year,” the report added.

IPL Franchises:
The combined trademark value of all the eight franchisees for 2011 is pegged at $355.22 million, slightly higher than $333.35 million in 2010.
BrandFinance, which took the eight original eight teams into consideration, categorised the teams into three brackets. The ‘breakaway brands’ consisted of Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers. BrandFinance said that these franchisees seem to have worked out the secret sauce of sporting success. “Consistency and coherence across various dimensions of cricketing and marketing excellence along with governance holds the key,” it said. (For valuation, see the table).

Mumbai Indians has made significant gains due to meticulous focus on nurturing a core team under Sachin Tendulkar, strong fan engagement efforts, sponsorship and merchandising. What makes it stand out is also the strong commitment to use the platform for the larger good like “Education for All’. It is not a mere coincidence that all the three ’breakaway brands’ are owned by large business houses, the report noted.

Meanwhile, Kolkota Knight Riders, Delhi Daredevils and Deccan Chargers are the “middle of the road brands”. They are in a state of flux and seem to have lost their balance in key areas of cricketing excellence aka the product.

The third in the category are the "Stragglers" and consist of Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI who have their work cut out in getting their houses in order.

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