How IPL Teams Are Emerging As Unsung Startups In Sports Industry?

Ever wondered how cricket transformed into a business spectacle? Curious about startups rewriting the rules beyond technology? Read more about this narrative in this story.

Shreshtha Verma
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IPL Teams Unsung Startups Indian Sports Revolution

TICE Creative

In Indian startup ecosystem, the quintessential image often involves tech-savvy entrepreneurs crafting the next big thing. However, as the world evolves, so do the definitions of success and innovation. Today, the definition of a startup has undergone a profound transformation. From a lady selling her food items to a new-age blockchain business, all are now counted as startups.

This broadened perspective prompts us to question our assumptions about what can be considered a startup. And amidst this evolving narrative, cricket emerges as a compelling contender. Enter the Indian Premier League (IPL) teams, the unsung heroes of India's sports revolution, challenging the conventional notion that startups must be rooted in technology.

Presently, there are ten city-based franchise teams in IPL - Channai Super Kings, Delhi Capitals, Gujarat Titans, Kolkata Knight Riders, Lucknow Super Giants, Mumbai Indians, Punjab Kings, Rajasthan Royals, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrise.

The Growth Quotient of IPL 

At the heart of the matter lies the core criterion of startups – rapid growth. IPL teams, over the past decade, have not only met but exceeded this benchmark. Witnessing staggering revenue and valuation multipliers, these teams embody the essence of fast-paced business expansion. Yet, a perplexing question lingers: Why aren't they celebrated as successful startups?

Breaking the Tech Stereotype

The prevailing belief that startups must be technology-centric has led to the oversight of thriving businesses like IPL teams. Even Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) brands, not inherently tied to technology, often tout themselves as tech companies due to this misconstrued notion.

However, the IPL narrative challenges this stereotype. It demonstrates that startups can transcend the tech domain and still be at the forefront of innovation and success.

Cricket's Evolutionary Leap

Before the IPL era, Indian cricket predominantly revolved around the national side, with regional teams participating in domestic tournaments. However, the allure of these domestic contests paled in comparison to international cricket. Then came IPL, a game-changer that transformed the landscape.

IPL turned cricket into a spectacle reminiscent of football, complete with fervently supported city clubs. This monumental shift in consumer habits saw millions of cricket enthusiasts aligning themselves with teams like Mumbai Indians or Chennai Super Kings, a phenomenon previously unimaginable.

Market Creation and Incumbent Usurpation

A hallmark of successful startups is their ability to carve out new markets and dethrone existing incumbents. In the case of IPL teams, they orchestrated a paradigm shift, overtaking the international cricket scene. The resounding success is evident in the packed stadiums for IPL games, contrasting starkly with the dwindling attendance at Cricket World Cup matches.

The undeniable proof of IPL teams' startup-like success lies in the overflowing stadiums during their matches. While Cricket World Cup encounters often grapple with the haunting specter of empty stands, IPL games consistently enjoy a sold-out status. This stark contrast paints a compelling picture of the IPL's triumph in capturing the hearts and attention of cricket enthusiasts.

IPL teams are the trailblazers of a sports revolution, embodying the spirit of startups outside the conventional tech realm. Their rapid growth, transformative impact on cricket's dynamics, and the creation of a fervent fanbase underscore their status as the unsung startup heroes of India's sporting landscape. It's time to broaden our definition of startups and acknowledge the IPL teams for the entrepreneurial marvels they truly are.

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Note: The inputs for this articles are taken from the LinkedIn Wall of Pushkar Singh, Co-founder, Termis Capital.