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Planning to Take Cricket League to Other Countries, Says IPL Chairman

IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla during the Qualifier 1 match of the Vivo Indian Premier League 2018 between the Sunrisers Hyderabad and the Chennai Super Kings held at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on May 22, 2018.

The Indian Premier League is aiming to take the cricket league in other parts of the world, IPL chairman Rajeev Sukla said. “We are planning to take it overseas, to places like Dubai, the UK and also America,” Shukla told AFP.

The T20 tournament, which is currently into its 11th season, is doing “wonderfully well,” the news agency quoted Shukla as saying.

“We are not able to figure out where it (broadcast rights and sponsorship) will peak … but I think after the EPL, this is the most important league. It can match any league,” he said, referring to the football English Premier League.

Shukla, who has been at the helm of affairs at the IPL since 2015, also spoke of the popularity of fan parks — venues where IPL matches are broadcast live on giant TV screens. “In (Indian) cities where we don’t host matches, we organize fan parks where we invite people to watch the match on the big screen. So 20,000-30,000 people are coming to the fan parks,” he said.

The IPL, which was founded by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in 2008, is currently one of the most popular and successful sports leagues in the world. Its brand valuation jumped to $5.3 billion in 2017, from $4.16 billion after the 2016 edition, and $3.54 billion in 2015, according to corporate finance advisor Duff & Phelps.

In 2017, the global media rights of the IPL were bought by Star India for a whopping $2.55 billion under a five-year contract from 2018 to 2022.

The cricket tournament, consisting of 60 games held over seven weeks, earns about $8.5 million per game in television revenues, just in India, the AFP report added. Each EPL football match, on the other hand, earns over $11 million in the United Kingdom, with millions more coming in from foreign broadcast rights.

The 2017 IPL final was watched by almost 40 million viewers, while the average viewership of an EPL match is over 12 million people around the world, according to the report. The National Football League (NFL) in the United States gets 20 million viewers per match.

IPL officials are, however, excited to see the rapid rise in its popularity. It was broadcast in Australia and New Zealand this year for the first time since 2013 by Fox Sports.

“The fan following and the viewers are increasing every year. In terms of revenue, it’s also doing wonderfully well,” Shukla said.”Now we are showing IPL throughout the world,” he added.