IPL: Commercialized Loyalty
As the 10th year of the highly commercial and successful cricket league IPL reaches its business end, it still lacks one important element i.e. Loyal Fans. A sport to thrive and grow needs a passionate fanbase, even if it is not commercially successful. If you compare the fans of I-league club, it survived even though it might not be commercially that successful.

A passionate fan base lifts the sprit and motivates the team to greater height. This can be explained by the current winner of I-league, a little known club from North East, FC Aizwal.


Now coming back to IPL, why it has not been able to create the Fanbase which it envisaged when it started in 2008.I think the focus of the IPL has never been towards the Fans. It was always to make it commercially viable and create a false loyalty. The focus of IPL was to take shortcuts to get/earn the loyalty of its fans. Having movie stars and business heads as franchises was a sure shot way of getting the eyeball to make it successful.


So what could be the possible reasons that even after a decade of the league, it still doesn’t have loyal fans?


  • Inconstancy in team: The ever changing nature of the teams and the sudden shift of players from one team to another is one of the prime reasons for its fans to lose interest in IPL. Many top players often do not even play for their own city, thus creating delusion among their followers.
  • Local players not included: It fails to offer a platform for budding cricketers from different region to showcase their talent. A Delhi lad playing for Bangalore will not get the support from the locals. Big clubs have always groomed and nurtured local talents.
  • Sessional flavour: IPL is a fad which only gains attention, craze and love while it is going on. In the off season, there is no engagement with the fans. Moreover, there is no certainty that a fan will follow the same team or even watch the season if one of the player move to other team.

IPL had everything that has made it one of the most commercially successful cricket leagues in the world. Sizzling Bollywood presence, opulent cheerleaders, national and International cricketers playing together and the famous team anthems with a tinge of Bollywood collectively created a unique identity for this league and made it an ultimate cricket extravaganza. With big names and all the glamour, it also gained huge viewership but the the bubble started to burst slowly.


And the organizer have understood the same and are taking the matches to smaller cities like Ranchi, Nagpur, Bhopal etc which is not lapping it up the loyalty to any particular club/franchise but for the glitz and the glamour. The concept of Free FANPark by IPL is again a strategy to create a commercial loyalty in smaller cities.


A loyal fan will always spend from their pocket to see their team to play and win. Would be very happy to buy merchandise, share his thought on social media et all.


Sadly this is lacking bigtime currently in the Indian Premiere League. The commercial loyalty will not work in the long run.