The Indian Premier League (IPL) has been around for the last 12 years and has established itself as the richest T20 domestic premier league in the world. The IPL has a massive fan following both in India and overseas as the IPL features a mix of domestic players, rising stars and some of the top international cricket stars.
The IPL always has packed stadiums as fans show up in the thousands to support their franchises. There are 8 IPL franchises that take part every season and some of them are more popular than their counterparts. We take a look at the different factors that determine the popularity of each IPL franchise.
The IPL is a closely contested T20 competition but over the years, a few teams have emerged as favorites because of their ability to win regularly and win under pressure. The IPL franchises that have won most IPL championships tend to be very popular because Indian fans love to support a winning team.
When we look at the 12 year history of the IPL, we find that the Mumbai Indians have won 4 IPL championships, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) come in second with 3 IPL championships and the Kolkata Knight Riders have won 2 IPL championships. However, CSK has made it to the IPL finals more often than any other team as they have ended up losing as 5 IPL championship finals. That really puts CSK ahead as they have been the more dominant team in terms of beating the rest of the IPL teams.
Cricket stars are as big as movie stars in India and some might argue that they are even more popular that film stars. The IPL franchises that tend to draw a huge fan following tend to be franchises that have a lot of star power. The Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) is a good example of this. RCB have never won an IPL championship and in most IPL editions have played rather poorly.
However, they continue to be a fan favorite because they have always had a great line-up of stars. RCB is currently led by Indian captain Virat Kohli who is the biggest star in Indian cricket. Chris Gayle, AB Devilliers, Dale Steyn, Mitchell Starc and Muttiah Muralitharan have all represented the franchise.
CSK and Mumbai Indians outmuscle the rest of the teams as they have spent huge money to get the very best in the business. CSK has always had MS Dhoni as their captain and have had the likes of Matthew Hayden, Michael Hussey, Dwayne Bravo, Faf du Plessis, Suresh Raina and R Ashwin over the years.
The Mumbai Indians had Sachin Tendulkar first as a player and then as a coach. They are captained by Indian vice-captain Rohit Sharma and have had the likes of L Malinga, Kieron Pollard, H Pandya and Mitchell Johnson represent them.
The smaller franchises may not have huge star power in their players but their owners bring in the fans. Bollywood divas Preity Zinta and Shilpa Shetty own Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals while superstar Shah Rukh Khan owns KKR.
Social Media Following
Indian fans cannot get enough of the IPL and the players on the field and TV screens. They follow their favorite IPL franchises and players on social media which include Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. IPL franchise and IPL players have focused on growing their social media following with every edition of the IPL.
The Mumbai Indians and CSK once again dominate social media following with the Mumbai Indians showing 13.2 million Facebook fans, 4.4 million Instagram fans and 5.4 million Twitter fans while CSK has 12.5 million Facebook fans, 4.3 million Instagram fans and 5.4 million Twitter fans. KKR and RCB come in third and fourth while Rajasthan Royals is at the bottom of the list in terms of social media followings.
One of the reasons why teams like Mumbai Indians and CSK tend to be at the top of the list in terms of popularity is because of market size. Smaller teams like the Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab have less of a fan following than metro cities like Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru.
Conclusion: The two most popular IPL franchise based on these factors are CSK and Mumbai Indians with CSK have a slight edge over Mumbai for now. However, Mumbai could very well surge ahead once MS Dhoni retires from IPL cricket.