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IPL: Mumbai Indians, the trophy-laden franchise laced with Bollywood support

Business of IPL

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MUMBAI, INDIA - MAY 9: Mumbai Indians  batsman Sachin Tendulkar plays a shot during IPL T20 match palyed between Mumbai Indian and  Royal Challengers Bangalore at wankhede stadium on May 9, 2012 in Mumbai, India. Batting first after losing the toss Mumabi Indians posted the target of 142 runs to win.  (Photo by Vijayanand Gupta/ Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
Former Mumbai Indians star batsman Sachin Tendulkar hits out at the 2012 Indian Premier League. Photo: Getty Images (Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

With five Indian Premier League (IPL) titles to its name, Mumbai Indians are currently the most successful team in the tournament’s history.

The team franchise was set up at the league’s inception in 2008 and after a rollercoaster first few years finally landed a first IPL in 2013, the year cricketing great and Mumbai Indians’ star turn Sachin Tendulkar retired.

Mumbai, who play at the imposing Wankhede Stadium, have claimed further titles in 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2020, reaching the play-offs in nine out of 15 seasons.

They finished bottom of the 2022 league and are outsiders for the 2023 title, yet they remain a well-backed team through a plethora of Bollywood celebrities such as Ranveer Singh and Kareena Kapoor.

Star players

Rohit Sharma – India

Leading Mumbai in their five IPL victories, Sharma is a tour de force for the Indians and their top run-getter. Now India’s full-time captain in all three formats of the game, he made his first IPL 50 since 2021 to set up his side's first win of the 2023 season. During the Border-Gavaskar trophy, he also became the first Indian captain to hit a ton across all three formats.

MUMBAI, INDIA - MARCH 29: Rohit Sharma, captain of Mumbai Indians and team's head coach Mark Boucher pose for the photos during a press conference ahead of IPL 2023, on March 29, 2023 in Mumbai, India. (Photo by Bhushan Koyande/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
Rohit Sharma, captain of Mumbai Indians, and the team's head coach Mark Boucher. Photo: Getty Images (Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Cameron Green – Australia

Signed as a replacement all-rounder Kieron Pollard for $2.1m (£1.7m), the 23-year-old became the most expensive Australian player purchased at an IPL auction after a bidding war. He has already taken tips from Sachin Tendulkar at the 2023 edition. “Whenever Sachin talks, you listen to him,” he said.

Behind the MI brand

The Mumbai Indians franchise is owned by oil-to-telecom conglomerate Reliance Industries (RELIANCE.NS) and Nita (mother) and Aakash (son) Ambani, one of India’s wealthiest families.

Read More: IPL: Chennai Super Kings, the power franchise led by MS Dhoni

Regarded as India’s most valuable sports franchise, Mumbai Indians are also one of the IPL’s strongest brands. According to Forbes, Mumbai Indians are valued at a mega $1.3bn (£1bn), making the team worth more than a reported six Major League Baseball teams.

In 2017, they became the first franchise to cross the $100m (£80.1m) mark in brand value. To underline their popularity, six years on, for the 2023 edition the franchise took their growing portfolio of lucrative sponsorship deals to 25, with around a 22% increase in sponsorship revenue expected.

MUMBAI, MAHARASHTRA-MAY 13: Nita Ambani clicked while holding the IPL Cup at Antilia after Mumbai Indians won the IPL 2019 finals in Mumbai. (Photo by Milind Shelte/The India Today Group via Getty Images)
Nita Ambani clicked while holding the trophy after Mumbai Indians won the IPL 2019 finals in Mumbai. Photo: Getty Images (The India Today Group via Getty Images)

They also have five franchises under their wing. Alongside the men’s IPL, they own the Mumbai-based franchise of the first Women’s Premier League (WPL), MI Cape Town in South Africa’s T20 competition and MI Emirates in the UAE International League T20. Their most recent acquisition came with MI New York as they get set to debut in the US-based Major League Cricket.

Reliance Industries also have ties in India’s football league, as well as sports consultancy and athlete talent management partnerships. Reliance has twice been linked with bids for Liverpool FC ownership over the years.

The money spinners

A 2022 report by leading valuation consultancy Brand Finance placed Mumbai Indians with brand value up 4% to $83m (£67m) — retaining first place amongst its IPL rivals despite a dip in form on the field.

The IPL powerhouse has nearly doubled its brand value over the years with a 99% growth since 2009.

Members of Mumbai Indians team and team owner Nita Ambani, center, pose with the trophy after their win over Chennai Super Kings in the final cricket match of VIVO IPL T20 in Hyderabad, India, early Monday, May 13, 2019. Mumbai Indians won the match by one run. (AP Photo/ Mahesh Kumar A.)
Mumbai beat Chennai Super Kings in the 2019 IPL final. Photo: AP Photo (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

The Ambani-owned franchise have over 30 million fans across its social media platforms. Last year the team was ranked as the most popular sports brand on YouTube during the IPL.

Did you know…

  • Master blaster Sachin Tendulkar was the first to win the IPL’s most valuable player award in 2010. Tendulkar scored 618 runs, while his 48 in the final against Chennai Super Kings saw the Indians fall 22 runs shy of victory.

Read More: Meet the British owner of IPL champions Gujarat Titans

  • For all Rohit Sharma’s prowess with the bat, he also has 14 ducks to his name. As of the 2023 edition, he was in the top five players with most ducks. Harbhajan Singh, who was part of the Mumbai Indians for nine seasons before being let go in the 10th IPL auction, has 13 ducks.

Watch: Mumbai Indians become first to win 100 IPL matches

  • In 2020, Mumbai mustered their third IPL title in four years. At the start of IPL 2023, their bluster had diminished somewhat, having lost their 12th T20 in 16 matches.

What they say...

"No squad in the IPL is as skewed towards star power as Mumbai's. Their seven highest earners are on a combined INR 85 crore ($10.4m), nearly 90% of the salary cap. Their 11 lowest earners are on INR 20 lakh ($ 24,000) each, the league's minimum wage. They have superstars and squad players, with almost nothing in between." Cricinfo

"With our entry into the first T20 franchise cricket league in the US, I hope we are able to establish Mumbai Indians as a global brand of fearless and entertaining cricket." Mumbai Indians owner Nita Ambani

Watch: Warner fumes as Green and David get Mumbai home

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