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Online gambling could drive up the valuation of the Indian Premier League

IPL 2023
Rajasthan Royals players celebrate a wicket

Founded in 2008, the Indian Premier League (IPL) has quickly become one of the world's most popular and lucrative sporting leagues. In 2021, the IPL reached a record-breaking valuation of $10.9 billion, making it the most valuable cricket league in the world.

As the IPL has matured over the last decade, franchise owners and investors will likely become more focused on maximizing their return on investment. In addition, the teams will be able to generate higher revenue through marketing and sponsorships, further increasing their financial stability. These trends could help to shape the future direction of the IPL as it continues to grow and evolve.

The league now competes with the EPL, NFL, and NBA. The valuation of the English Premier League (EPL) exceeds $20 billion, so there is still a long way to go. As we will outline in this article, there’s one thing that could catapult the value of the IPL through marketing and sponsorship deals.

Broadcasting and online gambling

As with most sports leagues, broadcasting is a significant source of revenue for the Indian Premier League. It is estimated that franchises could earn up to 70% of their total revenue from the central media rights of the IPL, that’s money from the central pool based on sales, sponsorships, and marketing. These numbers show how vital broadcasting is. Another aspect of broadcasting is the actual viewership numbers. Through TV and OTT (Over-the-Top), IPL reached 426 million viewers.

Here is where online gambling comes into the equation; placing sports bets online creates more significant incentives and engagement for viewers. Online gambling and the IPL goes hand in hand, says Vishal Sharma from JustGamblers.com. He elaborates that cricket creates the basis for sports betting, and sports betting, in turn, creates a higher demand for watching cricket. Their data on website traffic shows a significant difference in traffic ahead and during the IPL season compared to the off-season. Furthermore, he explained that a person mainly interested in Chennai Super Kings might visit an online gambling website and place bets on a match between Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals, even though they would usually never watch it. In a sense, online gambling drives viewership numbers. Viewership numbers, in turn, become broadcasting revenue which trickles down to additional revenues through sponsorships and marketing.

Sports league's relationship with online gambling

In the sports leagues we mentioned earlier, like EPL and NFL, it is not uncommon to direct sponsorship deals with online gambling operators. NFL, for example, has a tri-exclusive partnership with three sports betting companies. Effectively, official betting partners act as main sponsors for the league. In the EPL, many teams have sponsorship deals with online gambling operators. If you watch a match, chances are that you will see the logo of big operators either on monitors or on the team’s jerseys. The relationship between sports leagues and online gambling is one of mutual benefit. Casual sports betting drives viewership numbers and engagement between fans and the leagues

In India and the IPL, however, there are no existing partnerships of that nature because India is largely unregulated regarding online gambling and sports betting in particular. The most recent example is when Dream 11 sponsored the IPL in 2022. Dream 11 is a company that provides fantasy cricket where users risk real money with the chance of winning real money. This is due to the fact that fantasy cricket has been ruled as a game of considerable skill and judgment; it is considered a legal activity in India. Sports betting, on the other hand, is unregulated, with online gambling companies offering services with the help of loopholes in local laws. As such, the activity of gambling online is less common compared to North America and Europe, where sports league revenues are significantly boosted by the integration of legal online gambling operators. If the legislative landscape in India opens up, online gambling operators can step in and create symbiotic relationships with the IPL and its franchises.