IPL fans are mostly rooting for just one team this year

Them again?
Them again?
Image: AP Photo/Saurabh Das
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The Indian Premier League (IPL) this year has fans cheering for one team and one brand more than the others.

This one, the first team to qualify for playoffs, has been a fan favourite since day one. “At the beginning of this IPL season, around half were hopeful that Chennai Super Kings (CSK) is going to become the 2019 champion,” a recent survey by public-opinion research firm YouGov revealed. “The belief remains consistent, in fact, it has grown over the five weeks of IPL.”

YouGov surveyed around 1,000 Indians between March 26 and April 26.

“Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), which was believed by people to be the second-best contender for the coveted trophy, has seen a decline in its popularity, and has slipped to fourth by the end of the fifth week (of the season),” the research showed. In week one, 14% of respondents were vying for KKR to be the title holder but by week five, only 6% were. The dip can probably be chalked up to their five-match losing streak.

In the last 11 installments of IPL, CSK’s track record has been impressive.

The team led by former India team captain MS Dhoni made it to the finals seven times and won the series thrice.

This year, IPL began on March 23. On April 29, Royal Challengers Bangalore—led by India’s national team captain Virat Kohli—lost to Mumbai Indians and became the first team to be eliminated from the tournament.

Big play—for advertisers

A massive event, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is poised to mint Rs20 crore ($2.9 million) from gate money during the playoff games. The 12th edition of the games clocked up over 219 million viewers for the first three matches on TV. Streaming partner Hotstar claims to have drawn 267 million eyeballs for the same matches.

Because of its wide reach, IPL has come to be a hotbed for advertising. And there’s an audience favourite here, too.

“When asked about which brands people recall the most as advertisers/sponsors in IPL, Dream 11 emerged on the top,” YouGov noted. The 11-year-old fantasy sports startup has entered a four-year exclusive partnership starting this year. IPL’s fantasy cricket league will be hosted by Dream11, too.

Between winning the contract for the title sponsorship before last year’s IPL and now, Chinese manufacture Vivo has doubled its smartphone sales in India to 4.5 million.