Remember, when Virat Kohli scored 4 centuries in a single edition of a tournament, Chris Gayle’s 175 runs was considered one of the magic innings in the history of T20 cricket. This magic can only happen in the IPL, the Indian Premier League, or, as it actually is, the Incredible Premier League.
The T20 format gained popularity in India after the T20 World Cup win in 2007 when India beat Pakistan in the finals (we all enjoyed that moment). Soon after that, this magical league was born. It was the brainchild of Mr.Lalit Modi and was set up to be just like the Premier League in England. Over time, this league has taken over the English Premier League in terms of per match broadcasting revenue and established itself as one of the best sports leagues in the world.
Credit: Circle of Cricket
Brendon McCullum, while batting for KKR against RCB, played a blockbuster innings of 158 in the very first match. What better start could the tournament have had?
The innings paved the path for the Indian Premier League to become the most exciting league in the world. Launched in the year 2008, with 8 teams or franchises named after 8 different cities/states in India, this league has become an event that every Indian eagerly looks forward to. Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings, Kolkata Knight Riders, Rajasthan Royals, Delhi Daredevils, Deccan Chargers, Royal Challengers Bangalore, and Kings XI Punjab were the 8 teams participating in the first edition of the tournament.
The Final of this first edition of the tournament was played between the Mighty CSK, lead by Dhoni and the underdogs Rajasthan Royals, led by Shane Warne. Rajasthan Royals beat CSK in a thrilling last over bringing an inspiring end to the first edition of the tournament. Since then, the popularity of this league has only grown.
This first edition of the league had an instant impact and was a massive hit, with each team having huge fan bases and supporters. "Korbo Lorbo Jeetbo re”for KKR, “E Sala Cup Namde” for RCB, “Duniya Hila Denge Hum” for Mumbai Indians and “Whistle Podu” for CSK, fans came up with their own chants and tagline to support their teams. With jam-packed stadiums flooded in the colours of the home team’s jersey, players loudly cheering their teams with loud roars, and magical moments, the tournament has become a yearly celebration of our beloved sport.
The Charm of This Tournament:
The Indian Premier League is not just a sports league, it is a combination of cricket, entertainment, and business. The inscription on the trophy, "Yatra Pratibha Avsara Prapnotihi," which means ‘Where Talent Meets Opportunity’ perfectly captures the essence of the league. It attracts the biggest names in the sport, which people love to watch. Players like Chris Gayle, Glen Maxwell, Keiron Pollard, and David Warner are not only amazing overseas players but also entertainers on the field. Watching rivals from international cricket play together in a single team and players from the same country fighting against each other to win matches—the drama is what excites all fans so much. Who would’ve thought Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar would be part of the same franchise and Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli would have an altercation between themselves on the field.
The IPL Trophy, What everyone plays for! (Credit: BCCI/IPL)
The theme songs for every, like Ho Ek India Happy Wala, Dil Jumping Zapak Jumpak Jumpak, and many others, were melodies to our ears. We never moved from our seats or changed channels when these ads started playing. The Kingfisher ad, the Oo Lalala one, that was a vibe! This tournament provided such unforgettable experiences even off the field.
Millions of people watch all the matches, which gives brands the opportunity to heavily market their products in front of everyone and gain new customers. This has led to an increase in the sponsorship income that gets generated every year. The revenue generated each year has been increasing every single year with increasing popularity.
BCCI in 2022 sold the biggest ever media rights contract in India which puts Indian Premier League only second to the NFL in terms of value per match at Rs. 114 crore per match.
Credit: IPL Auction/Twitter
The auctions have given us some of the funniest memes and also some unforgettable moments, from bidding wars between teams for players to surprise bids to some overly expensive buys. Dhoni going for more than a million dollars in the first auction and becoming the most expensive player for the first season set the bar for auctions very high. Virat Kohli was bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore in the auction and is the only player to play for a single franchise all his career. Poor guy still hasn’t won a trophy, but we're all rooting for him!!!
Virat Kohli - The Highest Run Getter in the IPL (Credit: IPL)
Every team participates in the auction held before every season, where they bid for the players they want to add to their teams. The player then gets drafted to the team and then is awarded a very attractive contract by the team. This league has seen players being sold for huge amounts of money with lucrative contracts for the players. The most expensive player in the auction’s history was Sam Curran of England, who was bought by Punjab Kings for a whopping 18.50 crore rupees, ahead of the 2023 season. Cameron Green and Ben Stokes were also bought for unimaginable amounts.
The popularity of IPL has set new heights for the entire sport. The Indian Premier League sparked interest of a lot of viewers in the T20 format, with its super thrilling matches and nail biting finishes. This league has become
With high salaries, the league has become the first choice of many domestic and foreign players as well. Some players even prefer playing in such leagues over their national teams. Because the league is so successful, boards from other countries have also followed in the footsteps of the BCCI and launched their own leagues. Australia has the Big Bash League, England has The Hundred, Pakistan with the Pakistan Super League, and in the West Indies there is the Caribbean Premier League.
The Cricketing Action:
The league is not just about money and business, the matches that happen are some of the most memorable moments in the sport.
From MI chasing down 190 in just 14.4 overs against RR, which felt impossible, to Dhoni hitting those winning runs versus KXIP in 2010, it is filled with such thrilling and electrifying matches. The centuries hit, the catches taken, and the death over bowling by some of the best bowlers like Dwayne Bravo, every part of it is top quality. Matches like the 2017 final between MI and the Rising Pune Supergiants, where Mumbai won by a single run, keep all the fans biting their nails.
Along with such incredible matches, the IPL is also infamous for the match fixing scandals that have happened in the past. Due to such reasons, CSK and RR had to face a two year ban from the league in 2016 and 2017.
Talent too gets recognition at the biggest stage here. Every budding cricketer dreams to play for a franchise in this league. Because of the rule that only four overseas players at most can play in a match, many youngsters and Indian talents gets the opportunity to showcase their talent. Some of them are in high demand and get bought for high amounts. The players who perform well here also get a chance to play for their national teams. In the past, IPL has discovered many domestic players who have played for Indian National Cricket team including KL Rahul, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya and many more. Rinku Singh, the shining youngster has had one of the most inspirational stories, from being offered the job of a sweeper at a cricket club, to performing at the biggest stage for the Kolkata Knight Riders.
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Seeing the success of this T20 format, the Women’s Premier League 2023 was launched with a similar format but played between five teams. This tournament too was a massive massive hit, with Mumbai Indians winning the inaugural trophy.
The IPL is not just a sporting league, it transcends all boundaries. Bringing people and players together from all over the world, and uniting them for two months is what the league stands for. It is where legends like Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni, Shane Watson play alongside youngsters like Rishabh Pant, Ruturaj Gaikwad and many others. It is where legends are made. This league is not just cricket; it is the music, the fun, the entertainment, the fireworks, the dancing people, and the joy they share. It is a true celebration of cricket.