As the BCCI and the Indian Premier League (IPL) celebrates the 1000th game of the league, Lalit Modi, the founder of the IPL, became demonstratively nostalgic. He expressed gratitude to fans, players, stakeholders, and regulators for their support in making the IPL what it is today. Lalit Modi thanked them all for their contributions in a whirring voice as the celebrations began at the Wankhede on Sunday night.
“It’s really an emotional time. It is amazing to see the IPL grow so fast and become the second biggest league in the world in terms of value. In terms of viewership, it is No 1. More important than that is the number of youngsters we have seen in the landscape of the country. And the infrastructure that has come up across India. That is the byproduct of the IPL’s growth.”Lalit Modi via Cricbuzz
In 2008, Lalit Modi established the IPL with eight teams, and the league has experienced tremendous growth since then. Its worth has skyrocketed to over $10 billion, and the cost of media rights has increased by more than six times, currently standing at an astounding $6.2 billion (Rs 48,390 crore). Additionally, the value of the two new teams, added last year, is almost $2 billion.
Lalit Modi, who was once the head of the IPL, made a bold prediction that the league would surpass the NFL soon. He credited the fans for the league’s success, stating that their overwhelming support had propelled the league to new heights.
“It won’t be long before the IPL becomes the No. 1 league in any sport in the world. It is currently behind the NFL, ranked No. 2. But given the IPL’s rapid growth rate and momentum, that day is not too far away.”Lalit Modi
Modi also reminisced about what he had said in 2009 during the second year of the IPL, when the global economy was in turmoil due to the recession and financial crisis. “Do you remember what I said in Year Two?” he asked. “The IPL is recession-proof. And it has proven to be exactly that. Despite ongoing wars and economic downturns, the league has remained unaffected. The stadiums are packed, and fans around the world are tuning in to watch,” he added with a palpable sense of pride.
IPL has Changed the fate of Associate Nations
Lalit Modi highlighted the IPL’s contribution to the emergence of Afghanistan as a cricketing nation. “One of the most amazing things about the IPL is how it has benefited a country like Afghanistan. The growth of Afghanistan as a cricketing nation is owed to the league.
Some of the finest players in the world are now coming from Afghanistan, and that is undoubtedly due to the IPL. The league has not only changed the fortunes of Indian players but also those of many international players, particularly Afghan players.”
It is hard to dispute this claim. When the IPL started in 2008, Afghanistan was an associate country plagued by sectarian violence and militancy. However, the country has since become a full member of the ICC and has qualified for the 2023 World Cup ahead of former champions such as West Indies, Sri Lanka, and even South Africa.
Rashid Khan, the best white-ball spinner in the world, earns Rs 15 crore annually from the league. Other Afghan players such as Mohammad Nabi, Noor Ahmed, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Naveen ul Haq, Rahman Ullah Gurbaz, and Mujeeb Ur Rahman have either played or are currently playing in the league.
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