April 18, 2008. There was palpable excitement at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy were playing at the opening ceremony of a new cricketing league, preceding a match that would see teams owned by (hitherto) popular business scion Vijay Mallya and Bollywood’s biggest superstar Shah Rukh Khan square off against each other. Something big was about to happen, something that would change the face of Indian cricket.
As Brendon McCullum powered his way to an astonishing 158, you could sense the Indian Premier League (IPL) was here to stay. And stay it did, changing not only the face of Indian cricket, but Indian sport as a whole.
Eleven years on, you do not need to go through the numbers to judge if the IPL was a success. If you do, here is what you come across: a title sponsorship deal worth ₹2,200 crore for five years, a five-year broadcasting deal worth over ₹16,000 crore, viewership of 462 million and an estimated brand value of $6.3 billion. The secret of the IPL’s success lay in how it combined a heady mix of sport and entertainment, arriving at a concoction that even the casual fans could tune into and enjoy.
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