The IPL or Indian Premier League is the primary showcase for the sport of Twenty20 cricket in India. The league was established by the BCCI or Board of Control for Cricket in India, which has headquarters located in Mumbai. The IPL’s current Chairman and Commissioner is Rajeev Shukla, who is also the Vice President of BCCI as well as the primary supervisor of the league. IPL is comprised of nine teams, some of which include cricket players from around the world.
Players are signed into the IPL by any one of five ways: in the auction held every year, the signing of domestic players, the signing uncapped players, via trading with other teams, and the signing of replacements. For a player to be traded to another team, he must provide his implicit consent. In the event of a difference between the player’s old and new contact prices, the franchise will have to pay the additional costs.
As the global showcase for the Twenty20 variation of cricket, the IPL has garnered increasing attention from audiences all over the world. In a clear indication of its increasing popularity, the IPL became the first major sporting event to be shown live on YouTube. The event was broadcast live in 2010.
By its third season, the IPL had begun to attract widespread attention in other countries, particularly in the United Kingdom where it garnered some of the highest viewership figures in the world. Much of the league’s popularity in the United Kingdom was attributed to the airing of IPL new cricket games for free on the ITV4 channel. The league’s games were previously telecast on the subscription channel Setanta Sports. IPL’s previous Chairman and Commissioner Lalit Modi also noted the league’s popularity among cricket fans in the United Kingdom, stating ITV’s higher viewership rates compared to Sky Sports during the weekend. With double the number of viewers of the rugby league, the third season of IPL registered a viewer count 10 times that of the previous year.
With a roster of some of the sport’s most notable Indian and international players, IPL has earned the distinction of being the "richest cricket tournament" in the world. In the first player auction, the total cost for a franchisee was pegged at US$5 million. Players receive a minimum of US$20,000 every year, with some players earning as much as US$50,000. There are also highly sought after players who earn considerably more than that, such as India’s Gautam Gambhir, who was auctioned to Kolkata Knight Riders at the start of season 4 for a cool US$2.4 million.
By its fifth season, the IPL had an estimated value of US$2.99 billion. Despite its immense global popularity however, the league had also accumulated its share of scandals. Many of these involved alleged corruption at the highest levels of the league. Aside from illegal betting, some of the controversies centered on allegations of money laundering and game fixing. The IPL managed to weather most of these scandals unscathed, and it remains the foremost cricket showcase in India and many parts of the world.