The culture of leagues and franchises is not too old for India and to everyone’s delight the trend is gaining momentum with each passing day. The story began with the now beleaguered ICL (Indian Cricket League), a cricket league floated by Media magnate Subhash Chandra. Though, the league couldn’t do well due to controversies and conflicts with BCCI, it certainly paved the way for a successful cricket league modeled on same principles.
With the start of IPL and its extreme initial success, everybody thought of joining this bandwagon with a league or franchise of their own. So, did the celebrities or the business houses precipitously started worrying about the sorry state of Indian sports? Certainly not.
Here are the 5 reasons which may have been behind this sudden craze.
1. Diversified portfolio of Investments
One of the basic principles to be successful businessman is to have a diversified portfolio of investments or as this old adage suggests “Never put all your eggs in one Basket”. Consequently, celebrities and businessmen are incessantly looking out for new investment opportunities with a decent ROI (Return on Investment).
2. Immense growth potential in revenues
Sports leagues are turning out to be huge money spinner. IPL, with which every Indian household is fairly familiar, reported revenue of $ 450 Million for its season in 2009. Since then advertising tariffs have sky rocketed such that Lalit Modi expected Billion dollar revenues in 2010 for IPL. Also, presence of such avenues to excel, the interest towards opting sports as a career has surged and so has the television viewership. IPL 7 attracted more than 180 Million unique viewers on television.
3. Opportunity to connect with public
The ownership of a team presents a unique opportunity to the Bollywood stars or the business honchos to a have a connect with the people of the city/state. It also helps in building the brand of the company. Shahrukh Khan has used this event well to gel with Bengali population and his popularity certainly has spooked after his team KKR won the IPL in 2012 and 2014.
4. Status symbol
Ownership of teams has become a matter of pride and status among the rich. It usually becomes a matter of discussion on dinners and parties. For instance, the Burman family (Owners of Dabur Group) owns 3 sports league teams. Apart from being a co-owner in Kings-XI Punjab in IPL, the family owns one team each in HIL (Hockey India League) and IBL (Indian Badminton League).
5. Not a full year activity
Unlike other businesses or corporate ventures, these leagues don’t happen all round the year. Thus, most of Bollywood stars can manage to have a franchisee and still honor their other commitments. Businessmen, of course being more professional, put an efficient manager to handle all the activities. All in all, owning and managing a team is not that complex or demanding than managing a regular business.