Move over Wimbledon…

…the IPL is here, is the message from Lalit Modi, who makes a case for his franchise having moved into the really big leagues.

Q: How much is the IPL worth now?

A: There are different numbers being put by different analysts. The latest number that we have got from a credible source, a sports media research agency in the US, has valued the IPL brand alone at USD 1.65 billon, which is now the fifth largest brand in the world of sports in two years of operation, just below FIFA and higher than Wimbledon and F1.

But I think that the valuation is in line. I think the brand worth and the only way is northwards because we have 1 billion alone in India, plus another half a billion to 600 million around the world who love the game of cricket. The IPL has actually become the number one cricketing property in the world and it is only growing.

Q: So, a third successful year and you are going to go northwards of USD 1.65 billion, aren’t you?

A: The target is to beat the NFL, which is at USD 4.5 billion.

Money is one yardstick to measure the size of a brand [and given Modi’s mindset, it’s not particularly surprising money is the only measure he recognizes or talks about] — but I am not sure it is the only one.

For instance, I have a problem with this presumption that every person in India is a cricket fan — a fallacy we regurgitate endlessly with the whole “one billion fans” thing. Additionally, as of last year there were an estimated 130 million television-enabled households in the country (in other words, that many households with access to cricket) — of which just over half, or 71 million, were cable-enabled (that is, with access to the IPL).

Further: it is generally accepted that IPL-1 had a greater viewership than the second edition. Here are some figures (admittedly, audience measuring is not even close to being an exact science in our country) . And here’s some stats for Wimbledon, from the same year. And from my archives, a story datelined May that compares the IPL with another major sports franchise.

Not meaning to knock the IPL and its money-making capacity — long may it grow. But these manifestations of Modi’s Napoleon complex spark a smile. [Hat tip Vivek Shenoy for the link]