IPL: Sunrisers Hyderabad, the franchise backed by media conglomerate Sun Group
When the Hyderabad Sunrisers won their maiden Indian Premier League (IPL) title in the 2016 season, it came three seasons after being formed following the disbandment of Deccan Chargers.
The Sunrisers, whose supporters are called the ‘Oranje Army’, defeated the Royal Challengers Bangalore by eight runs in the final. Since winning the title, they reached the play-offs every year, including a runners-up spot in 2018, up until the 2021 IPL.
That season, SRH won only three of 14 games and finished as the basement side. Form fared little better in the 2022 edition, with the Hyderabad-based franchise finishing eighth.
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Aiden Markram was named Sunrisers captain for IPL 2023, having led Sunrisers Eastern Cape to the inaugural SA20 title. Brian Lara, SRH’s team's strategic advisor and batting coach in 2022, also replaced Tom Moody as coach for the 2023 edition.
Harry Brook - England
Heralded as one of the most destructive batsmen across all three formats, the Englishman came into this maiden IPL with 2,432 runs from 99 T20s at a strike rate of 148.32. Little wonder Brook, 24, formed a bidding war involving Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore before Sunrisers shelled out £1.3m in the IPL auction. It was almost nine times his base price, justified when he bludgeoned the first century of IPL 2023.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar Singh - India
Signed by Hyderabad in 2014, Kumar has played a leading hand at the front and back end with his death bowling expertise, not least in their title-winning season.
He won the purple cap twice running and snared 18 wickets in his first four seasons. He remains SRH's leading wicket-taker.
Behind the Sunrisers’ brand
The Chennai-based media and television conglomerate Sun Group (SUNTV.NS) snapped up the franchise vacated by Deccan Chargers in 2012 after it hit financial issues. The Chargers’ owners, Deccan Chronicle Holdings, had paid $107m (£85.8m) for the franchise. With the IPL four seasons in, the new owners’ annual fee of $15.81m over an initial five years was deemed a ‘steal’ within the IPL fraternity.
The franchise is owned by Kalanithi Maran, whose Sun Group owns TV networks, newspapers, radio stations and a movie production house. Seen as somewhat of a reclusive businessman, his daughter, Kavya Maran, is the IPL franchise’s CEO and co-owner, the face of the team’s ownership and has overseen operations since 2020.
Kavya, who has an MBA from the UK’s Warwick Business School, also has involvement in her father’s Sun TV network operations. It is reported that the franchise owners never meddle in team decisions.
When the family took over the franchise, Hyderabadi great V.V.S. Laxman was installed as brand ambassador, former India captain K Srikkanth as mentor, and Australian Moody as coach. They also retained a number of players from the Deccan Chargers era, a strategy which proved incisive in 2016.
The money spinners
Although Sun Group paid more than double what Deccan Chronicle Holdings had for the inaugural IPL team in 2008, the franchise has seen its brand exposure increase alongside the rise of the league in recent years. The Sunrisers’ franchise has an estimated brand value of $69m, alongside its market value of $970m. According to a report by Forbes, revenue and operating income for the team are a respective $31.8m and $3.2m.
Across its varied portfolio with advertisers, Sunrisers has official partners in radio, medical, gaming, outdoor media, cosmetics, celebration/pouring, education, tyre and telecom.
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Did you know…
The Sunrisers are seemingly slow out of the IPL seasonal blocks. In the 2023 edition, they had racked up two opening defeats for the fourth time in a row. Yet, the two franchise titles Sunrisers have won in India and South Africa have come on the back of those first losses.
The Hyderabad franchise’s highest IPL score came in 2019 when Jonny Bairstow and David Warner gleefully took the Royal Challengers Bangalore attack apart, opening up with a record IPL first-wicket stand of 185. Bairstow mustered 114 from just 56 balls, before Warner finished 100 not out in Hyderabad's 231-2.
Sunrisers are fourth when it comes to win percentages — historically coming out on top in 50.72% of their matches ahead of the 2023 start. They had won 68 of their 138 T20 matches, losing 66. They are also one of four franchises with more victories than losses.
What they say on Sunrisers…
“Harry Brook is a long-term player. Sunrisers have identified a very good young player and they see him as a 10-year plus project. A lot of people will look back and say, gosh, they got him as a steal. In all three formats he has absolutely nailed it. He has done it with great freedom and he has taken attacks apart.” Tom Moody, Sunrisers' former head coach
“I don’t think SRH has a batting unit that can put up a score of 170-190. If Markram doesn’t score, the task becomes more difficult. Tripathi is a skillful player and there is no doubt about it but he hasn’t done anything significant with the bat so far this season. Maybe he might score in the season further.” Former India spinner Harbhajan Singh