KKR grew 24% as IPL value reaches US$ 3.8 bn, challenging times ahead

MUMBAI: Even as the business value of the IPL system grew 9% to US$3.8 billion, KKR, worth US$58.6 million, is the IPL’s 'Most Valuable Brand' despite missing out on the title this year.

Mumbai Indians has the most powerful brand and Royal Challengers Bangalore’s is the only brand to fall in rank, according to Brand Finance.

Since 2009, it has calculated both the business value of the Indian Premier League system and the brand values of each individual franchise team, providing a deep understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing the teams and the IPL system as a whole.


Being the fastest growth year to year of 24%, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) tops the Brand Finance IPL league table for the second year in a row. Despite missing out on the title, KKR has continues to consistent qualify for the playoff stages. The team has displayed strong leadership skills, team bonding, and a clear approach to composition and winning tactics.

This year, however, surprising player choices in the playoffs did not pay off as KKR lost to Mumbai Indians in the second qualifier. KKR has its owner Shah Rukh Khan to thank for a larger part of its popular appeal. The Bollywood superstar attracts incredible media attention and fan following, acting as an icon for the entire franchise.

Depending heavily on Khan’s personal brand equity and connections, KKR lands a host of local and national sponsorships and has been one of the first to introduce an effective merchandising strategy.

This year’s champions, Mumbai Indians (MI) are the most powerful brand among all franchises, with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 71. As part of Brand Finance’s analysis, each brand’s strength is assessed (based on factors such as marketing investment, familiarity, preference, sustainability and margins) to determine what proportion of a business’s revenue is contributed by the brand. This proportion is projected into perpetuity and discounted to determine the brand’s value. Despite creating the strongest brand, Mumbai Indians have been less adept at capitalising on this strength than KKR.

At US$54.1 million MI’s brand value is over US$4.5 million behind KKR. MI must do more to convert its unrivalled brand strength into maximum financial returns and brand value.

Impressive growth of 23% to a brand value of US$46.5 million landed Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in third place, up from the fourth position last year. In 2017, SRH continued to be the most balanced team in terms of the ratio between overseas stars and high-performing Indian players, investing especially in young, emerging talent.

With a brand value of US$44.4 million, up only 4% year on year, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) fall to 4th place. As a team, RCB had a forgettable year in 2017, which is reflected in the decrease of the BSI to 64 from 66 in 2016. RCB is the only franchise brand whose strength waned this season.

Delhi Daredevils (DD) hold to 5th place in the study with a brand value of US$40.5 million, following growth of 13%. Zaheer Khan’s charismatic leadership infused a newfound spirit into the team and new talents such as Rishab Pant drove the team very close to playoffs, attracting praise from pundits and critics as well as a massive fan following far beyond Delhi.

Kings XI Punjab has a brand value of US$36.2 million, putting it in last place. However, solid 18% growth hints at the brand’s relative success this year. Under the leadership of Glen Maxwell, the team was a force to be reckoned with.

After a troubled 2016 season, the business value of the IPL System grew 9% in 2017 to US$3.8 billion. Celebrating 10 years of the IPL journey, opening ceremonies took place at all host stadiums this year, with a whole array of Bollywood entertainers and local cricketing celebrities. As the season progressed, fans without tickets could watch the competition in ‘Fan Parks’ in 36 cities across the country. Family-friendly and free to attend for all, Fan Parks offered music, entertainment, and a range of merchandise stalls, bringing stadium atmosphere to city centres on a scale larger than ever.

The quality of the game did not disappoint either, improving ticket sales and enabling the teams to build brand equity. The emergence of strong contenders such as the Delhi Daredevils and Kings XI Punjab, challenging the usually dominant Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians, resulted in a seesaw in the points table throughout the season. The emergence of relatively unknown young Indian players created further interest. Young guns such as Nitesh Rana, Rahul Tripathi, Washington Sundar, Rishabh Pant, Basil Thampi, and Mohammed Siraj, all began to build powerful personal brands, whilst adding to the interest in and value of the competition as a whole.

Overall, stadium attendance increased 25% from 2016 even before the season was over, while last year’s television viewership numbers were beaten by the time match 43 of this season had been played. Social media engagement reached an all-time high, with nearly six million tweets sent over the season’s first five weeks.

Brand Finance India managing director Ajimon Francis comments, “The 10th anniversary year is an inflection point for the IPL. The upcoming tender procedure for television and digital broadcast rights, the disbanding of Gujarat Lions and Rising Pune Supergiant and the revival of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, as well as the unavoidable reshuffling of players all present challenges for the management of the IPL. However, this year’s results show that the IPL is now operating from solid financial and reputational foundations, with increasing fan interest and engagement. The future looks bright.”

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