STANDING ON a firm platform of approximately Rs 75 crores, the Indian Cricket League has to a large extent created a niche for itself.
Himanshu Mody, business head of Zee Sports, ICL's parent body, told HT, "It would be difficult to pin point the figures, but we would be earning close to 75 crores and that includes the revenue from advertisers, sponsors and commercials."
"Some of the top international players are playing for us and this shows in the quality of cricket," said Kiran More, ICL executive board member. "Financially we are on a sound platform with more sponsors are joining us."
But the company is far from making profits. "We are expecting to break even by the next ICL event (April 2008 — March 2009)," said Mody.
Money apart, Sunday's match between the Delhi Giants and Lahore Badshahs, was a perfect example of how the ICL has made inroads in this cricket-crazy nation.
A packed Tau Devilal Stadium in Gurgaon, replete with cheering spectators and cheerleaders swinging to the music, was the perfect setting for a blockbuster. "It's a sell-out," said an ICL official. "The craze was such that we had to call for cops at the ticket counters," he added pointing to the ticket prices ranging from Rs 100 to 500.
"From one venue and 20 games, we have moved on to three venues and 23 games with as many as 215 cricketers from India and abroad on board. We are progressing in the right direction," said Mody.
He even questioned the 'rebel league' tag. "I don't think it is fair. We are here to promote the game and earn business from it. So what's wrong in that?"
The market share in terms of TVR (television ratings) isn't bad either. "It's 1.2 TVR," informed Mody. "If you want to compare, then it is the same as an India Test match."
The list of sponsors too seems to be growing. From no sponsors, the ICL has managed to rope in as many as seven companies. Edelweiss, is the main sponsor for the ongoing 20s Challenge, while JVC is an associate sponsor. The teams are being gradually bought over, providing ICL with a firmer financial platform.
List of sponsors
Main Sponsor: Edelweiss
Associate Sponsor: JVC
On air sponsors: Airtel, Vodafone, Intel, JVC.
Team Sponsors: Dabur Glucose-D (Mumbai Champs), Dabur Real (Chandigarh Lions), Bharatstudents.com (Hyderabad Heroes), Gitanjali Jewellers (Kolkata Tigers), Pioneer Infrastructure (Delhi Giants), JVC (Ahmedabad Rockets).
Man of the series sponsors: Gitanjali Jewellers
Teams looking for sponsors: Lahore Badshahs, Chennai Superstars.