MUMBAI: The India Premier League (IPL) is now in the top three global sports properties but more such success stories are needed to boost the country’s sporting infrastructure and culture, according to an industry figure.

“IPL is India's most valuable sporting brand and now competes successfully with the top ten sporting leagues of the world in terms of viewership, brand valuation, media rights and marketing rights,” said Saurabh Uboweja, Founder, CEO & Chief Brand Strategist, Brands of Desire.

He was speaking to Exchange4Media in the wake of Star India scooping the global television and digital broadcast rights for the tournament between 2018 and 2022 with a bid of Rs 16,347 crore – more than the sum of the highest bids in each individual category.

In doing so, it wrested ownership away from Sony Pictures Network which has held the rights since the IPL’s inception.

Uboweja expected that the success of the IPL would continue to inspire other sporting leagues in the country – and thereby help improve the overall sporting infrastructure.

“India needs at least five other IPL-like leagues to positively impact the sports culture of the country,” he maintained.

The nation’s obsession with cricket, however, means that day is unlikely to be near. “Despite so many other leagues being launched in India, close to 85% and more of total sports adspend in India goes to cricket,” observed Ashish Bhasin, Chairman and CEO, Dentsu Aegis Network, South Asia.

He did not envisage Star India recovering its investment solely through advertising, however, even though ad rates on Star’s channels will increase.

“Star … has a bouquet of channels,” he said, “and this acquisition can help pull up those channels; at the same time a lot of subscription revenues should come in as well.”

Data sourced from Exchange4Media; additional content by WARC staff