How Profitable is an IPL Franchise

17 05 2008

While coming out of the IPL franchise auction held on January 24, 2008, the winner of the Chennai franchise, the MD of  India Cements  N.Srinivasan spoke to the Hindu. “This will be a good investment. We expect to build this into a viable and vibrant franchise”, he said.


After agreeing to pay US $ 91 million (Rs 3.60 billion) for a ten year contract, it was hard to figure out how he would make profit. M.S.Dhoni alone is costing him for $ 1.5 million per year, in fact just for 45 days of service.


Now, that IPL is well under way and it has become hugely popular, it will be interesting to see the business model of an IPL franchise. Using Chennai Super Kings (CSK) as an example, we look at their revenue streams and expenditure heads.


The single biggest revenue stream for a franchisee in the initial years is the share of the television revenue. Not for nothing, is IPL being bandied as “Made for TV”. CSK will receive $ 10 million in the first year and this will go down to $ 6 million every year from the sixth year onwards, when the number of teams increase and the share of the IPL (read BCCI) increases from 20% initially to 40 % from the sixth year onwards. Mr. Srinivasan in an interview to the Economic Times has said “If we had bid $90 million over a ten-year period, we’ll get back $80-90 million as TV income itself.”


The title sponsorship is another major revenue stream. AirCel and Coromandel Super King are the title sponsors of CSK. Although no information is available, it may be around $ 5 million every year and this should go up significantly if the team performs well in the IPL. Add to that a slew of local co-sponsors and this revenue stream gets shored up even further.


CSK also gets a share of the $50 million each year paid by DLF as the IPL sponsor. This is estimated to be $ 3.75 million every year during the first five years. After the first five years, the title sponsorship contract comes up for renewal. If IPL turns out to be a big success, expect this to double.


Gate collection from the home matches in Chennai is another source of income. CSK will be hosting seven matches this season. The M A Chidambaram stadium has a capacity of 50,000 spectators. CSK has priced the tickets ranging from Rs 200 to Rs 5000 for the AC pavilion. Assuming an average occupancy of 80% and price of Rs 400, the gate collections for CSK, after paying IPL its 20% share, is likely to be around $ 2 million. CSK will also be earning from in-stadium advertising. This may generate another $ 2 million in the first year.


CSK sells its merchandise like T-shirts and caps through its web-site and other channels. This revenue stream can be a big money spinner if the franchisee is able to build a huge fan following and city loyalty. From a small income of $1 million in the first year, it is estimated that this can go up to $ 15 million in the tenth year.


 The prize money for the winner of IPL is also not an amount to sneeze at. The winner of IPL will get US $ 2 Million. The teams placed lower also get significant cash awards. Let’s assume that CSK will receive $ 1 million per year as prize money.


There is also a possibility of CSK making good amount of money  by judiciously trading players’ contracts in the Year Two and Three. For example, Mumbai Indians or Rajasthan Royals may be interested in buying the contract of  Parthiv Patel as they are playing local wicket keepers whereas Mr. Dhoni will always be the first choice as wicket keeper for CSK.


Now we look at the expenditure side.


Apart from the USD 91 Million paid upfront as the franchisee fee for ten years, the major item of expenditure is definitely the players’ contracts. In addition to Mr. Dhoni, CSK bought foreign players such as Mathew Hayden, Mike Hussey,Makhaya Ntini, Jacob Oram, Stephen Fleming, Muralidharan, Albie Morkel,  Kapugedera and Indian T20 stars like Suresh Raina, Joginder Sharma. These star players cost a total of $5.575 million per year. The rest of the 24 member team is made up of local Tamil Nadu players and under –19 players, these have all been signed up for US $ 30,000 each. CSK also has a team of four supporting the team with Kepler Wessels as the coach. The annual expenditure on account of players is estimated to be

$ 10.6 million. These contract fees are fixed for the first three years, after which there will be fresh round of auctions.


If IPL is the biggest festival this summer, certainly the hype created by the IPL organizers, media and the franchisees is responsible for it. This does not come free. The IPL franchisees would have a significant marketing and advertising spend. CSK has the Tamil actor Vijay as their ambassador and former captain  K.Srikkanth as the brand ambassador. CSK has created a video featuring all the players with music by A. R. Rahman. Sivamani, the ace drummer, is seen wearing the CSK yellows wherever CSK plays. CSK maintains a web-site for creating a community of fans and selling tickets and merchandise. Like all the IPL teams, CSK has its band of foreign cheergirls. The marketing and promotion spend could be of the order of $ 4 million per year.


The other expenditure would be related to paying the rentals to the local cricket association for the stadium. Running an office and organization which will work round the year, not just the 45 days of IPL season is also expensive. Add to that travel and hotel expenses. Perhaps airline and hospitality sponsors lessen the burden.


So will CSK make money?


If the initial franchising contract is treated as an investment, as per the estimates above, CSK is making an operating profit of over $ 8 million $ in the first year itself. If the $ 91 million is amortized equally in the ten years, then CSK would report a negligible loss of $ 0.7 million in the first year. Even, this could turn into a profit if CSK wins the IPL championship!


If not in the first year, CSK is most likely to break even in the second year. From the third year onwards, when the sponsorship, merchandising and gate collection revenues go up, CSK may start generating net profits of $ 2.5 million (Rs. 100 million) on a revenue of  $ 30 million  (Rs 1200 million) from the third year. If the IPL gains in even more popularity the revenues and profits will go up further.


Lalit Modi, the IPL Commissioner said “Each IPL franchise could be worth $ 5 billion.” It is expected that many IPL franchisees will go public after the third year. I’ll not be surprised if CSK has a market capitalization of $ 500 million (Rs 20 billion), five years from now.


When Mr. Srinivasan, who incidentally is also the treasurer of BCCI, said IPL franchise is a ‘good investment’, he certainly knew what he was talking about


 – G. Mohan  




10 responses

18 05 2008

Beyond figures & numbers the writing on the wall is evident. 20/20 is the way to go. I also had some reservations before going to Eden Gardens last week . Atmosphere is electrifying. Anyone (likes cricket or not ) can spend some good time. With the multiplexes coming up the cost of going to cinema hall is almost same . But what you get here cannot be availed within four walls.

What people accepts that will last . Whether it is classic or not.So people who have invested seems to be wise ones.

21 05 2008
The IPL Thread - Page 57 - Team-BHP

[…] I too was wondering what makes people pump in millions, till I came across this good article in: [FONT=Arial][/FONT] How Profitable is an IPL Franchise [FONT=sans-serif][SIZE=2]May 17, 2008[/SIZE][/FONT] […]

12 04 2009

A fantastic read….very literate and informative. Many thanks….where is your RSS button ?

15 04 2009
Marketing Forums

Finally someone who can write a good blog ! I loved your post and will be telling others about it. Subscribing to your RSS feed now. Thanks

23 05 2009

Cool! Nice post!

13 01 2010

The best liga is the IPL India !!
I can not find the RSS Button !

22 03 2010

Thanks for this.

4 05 2010
Sumit Mishra

Hi Friends
Thanks a lot for your blog. It has helped me a lot.

24 05 2011

very good read G.Mohan , very informative. lacking some minute details in expenditure and income, but very very good read. thank you

29 11 2011
achat kamagra

Valuable information! Looking forward to seeing your post

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