If you ask an IPL fan from Kolkata which is the most popular franchise, they are going to say the Kolkata Knight Riders and if you ask a fan from Bangalore, they are going to say the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). Such is the popularity of the IPL in regional states that the home support is always going to be strong.
However, to determine which teams really top the charts in terms of popularity, we have to look at a key set of factors that can be used to measure their popularity. Some of these factors include franchise location, winning record, star power, social engagement and advertising budgets.
IPL Franchise Location
If you take a city that has 50 million fans and another city that has 10 million fans for example, the city with 50 million fans win simply by sheer size. This is why the four metropolitan cities in Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi tend to have a huge fan following when compared to smaller regions like Punjab and Rajasthan.
Mumbai Indians have dominated the IPL in the last five years winning 3 out of the last 5 tournaments. They sit at the top of the list in terms of tournament wins having 4 trophies in the cabinet and CSK come in second with 3 championships. However, over the course of the last 12 tournaments, CSK has been the more dominant team as they have reached the IPL final on more occasions than any other franchise and have been runner-ups on 5 different occasions.
If we put that into perspective, has CSK ended up winning those finals, CSK would have as many as 8 IPL trophies in their cabinet.
Indian fans love to support their home team during the IPL but will often support a second franchise because they have some of their favorite Indian and overseas players in the team. The teams with the biggest star power over the years have been the Royal Challengers Bangalore, CSK and Mumbai Indians.
They have never won an IPL tournament but have had huge stars over the years including Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, AB Devilliers, Dale Steyn and Mitchell Starc.
MS Dhoni has been captain of CSK from the start of the IPL and continues to captain the side which has featured stars like Brendon McCullum, Matthew Hayden, Muttiah Muralitharan, Albie Morke, Dwayne Bravo and Faf du Plessis.
have had some of the biggest names represent them as players and coaches. Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting and Jonty Rhodes have coached them while Rohit Sharma, Mitchell Johnson, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya and Lasith Malinga have played for the Mumbai Indians.
IPL franchises realize that their success and revenue is tied to a number of factors and not just to winning the IPL championship. IPL franchises focus on building their brand image and expanding their fan base with every season. This is why most IPL franchise tend to invest 5 to 15 percent of their budget on marketing and advertising costs.
The bigger and most financially sound IPL franchise tend to spend more on marketing as it helps them grow their brand. CSK must be singled out as they did a great job in the initial years of the IPL to reach the rural areas of Tamil Nadu and grow their fan base.
There is no doubt that Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians are the two most popular franchises in IPL history so far. Our verdict gives CSK the top spot but not by much as they have both the results, star power and marketing strategy that has helped the men in yellow become favorites not just in Chennai but throughout India.