The most intimate team to its fans, the cricket brand of the common man, CSK, triumphs the kitsch of Bollywood and the pursestrings of India’s rich to be the most valuable IPL cricket team.

MOST OF THE greatest sports brands today are American:  Nike (sportswear), Super Bowl (sporting event), Tiger Woods (sports personality), ESPN (sports channel), and New York Yankees (sports club).  At least with the list of world famous sports clubs, a new one from the Third World needs to be included.

India has a long-standing love affair with a game called cricket, a quintessentially British sport played as “creckett” in the sixteenth century, and popularized by the British Empire in the subcontinent since early 1800s.  Today, three in every ten TV commercials will carry a cricketing theme or endorsed by India’s cricket heroes.  In the new millennium, cricket went through an overhaul – truncated to twenty overs a side and a result could be gotten in three hours – about as long as a baseball game – right for an evening’s Hulk Hogan-style entertainment.  Playing the role of a patriarch, the Board of Cricket Control in India, muscled its power to trample Indian Cricket League (ICL) calling it unlicensed and banning many international players, and borrowed many ideas from the first T20 World Championship hosted by South Africa to form its own glitzy version, the Indian Premier League (IPL).

The IPL was set up to imitate the franchise model of American sport – a very cosy family business.  And even if India’s biggest film stars and richest hard-nosed tycoons who own many of these cricket clubs continually crave for the spotlight on themselves, the effulgence of IPL seized every cricket lover’s attention, and was subsequently appraised at a whopping $3.7 billion by Brand Finance, a London-based consulting firm that specializes in brand valuation.  India’s rising middle class embraced this hit-and-giggle version that was devised by England in 2003, as a way of reviving interest to its county cricket after five straight years of failing attendances.  With this new acquired brand of T20 cricket, India’s city-based franchisees had truly come of age with one clear winner: Chennai Super Kings (CSK).

From a branding perspective, CSK, declared as the most valuable IPL franchisee (again valued by Brand Finance, London), began to differentiate itself, and amply benefitted from the high level of identification of power symbols and a sensory palette of unique visual, verbal, and digital expression.  As a veteran in branding and specializing on consumer insight and technology, I’d award CSK full marks in every  facet of the complex branding process, especially the potential to build equity by capitalizing on the emotional relationship it shares with CSK fans who derive strength and a sense of identity from their affiliation with their team.

Brand Identity Elements:

Branding experts may brood about the lack of poetic ingenuity in having two kings and two royals among the handful IPL teams.  Some may assume that the CSK brand name was partly inspired or downright inherited from the defunct Chennai Super Stars.  The “king of the IPL jungle” symbolism traces back to Pallava dynasty who combined the iconic lion emblem with other symbols like the Swastika, Srivatsa, and the Trisula in their copper plate seals.  The descriptor “super” – Tamils’ overused fuzzword – everything is “super” from morning coffee to their favorite cinema star.

While every IPL team is adorned in a variant of blue- or red-colored jersey with gaudy silver or gold streaks, the CSK cricketers refresh the eyes in bright yellow.  A roaring lion is used as a visual symbol, and Chepauk, the home of CSK, is referred colloquially as the lion’s den.

Brand Attribute and Value:

For brand success the product or in this case the entire gaming experience, needs to be perceived as quality-laden, providing adequate value for money.  While non-cricketing attributes matter in IPL, the success of a sports club depended chiefly on the core competitiveness of cricket players, i.e., their abilities.  CSK’s winning consistency in the short history of the IPL has transformed a brand into a cultural phenomenon: five times in the playoffs (including IPL 2012), three-time finalists, twice winners of the IPL crown, and once winning the Champions League in 2010.

CSK is the only team that does not cast light on its owners.  Instead, it has cast light on the authentic game it plays.  You can see it when CSK is on: the camera is on its players – not on the owner’s snooty family.  When pursestrings become visible, you know that a sports brand is in peril because it isn’t lit by its cricketing splendor, but ignited by the vulgar stare of money.  Other bells and whistles in the three-hour extravaganza, such as a percussionist drumming a dancing beat alongside the outsourced cheerleaders still colorfully prevail.

Organizational Attributes:

Barring CSK, all IPL teams hired local players to only fire them in player auctions in American corporate style; for instance, there is no sense of “Bengaluru” in Royal Challengers; even their all-conquering son, Rahul Dravid, was imperturbably relinquished to play for the namesake, the other Royals.  A cricket player performs three roles in the IPL: functions as a member in the squad, if selected plays for the team, promotes the brand, and endorses as the primary  spokesperson.  If team owners rule with an iron rod and let their players go off in a merry-go-round, the fans tend to switch their loyalty, resulting in fan alienation that the clubs may have avoided in the first place.  Brand confusion is very evident with Deccan Chargers’ fans: they cheer for Adam Gilchrist who plays now for Kings XI and their club travels as vagrants from Vizag to Cuttack.

CSK did not do different things; it only did things differently.  CSK kept the same team rooster for the most part in the five years IPL has been in full-swing.  The traditional value of developing the best local talent was continued as the bulk of the side, including Murali Vijay, Ravichandran Ashwin, Srikanth Anirudha, and Subramaniam Badrinath, and Yo Mahesh moved up through Tamil Nadu cricket.  The highest wicket-taker in the world, Muttiah Muralitharan, a Tamil, was only forced to let go after a competing IPL team outbid CSK.

It is the only franchise that invested $5 million to revamp on its creaking infrasturcture and increase seating capacity to 50,000; today Chepauk boasts of quad conical geometric form roof and bright yellow-colored stands.  There definitely is a sense of belonging and empathy with which CSK has been branded.

Customer Internalization:

Just as how Chelsea F.C. is a play thing for Roman Abramovitch; IPL teams may very well be a play thing for the highfaluting businessmen.  Not Chennai.  CSK exudes a persona of a people’s brand, while other teams depend on a Bollywood ring master to goad its fans inside and outside the playing field.  With any sports team brand, the fan’s internalization process is very elemental, and in this digital age, CSK fans are taking their favorite team right to the streets via social media outlets.  If you don’t know that CSK fans are the most appreciative cricketing audience in the world, you need to drop an e-mail to the former Pakistani opener, Saeed Anwar, or ask someone from the Pakistan cricket team of 1999 who did a lap of honor.  CSK fans, like their team, are a cog in the machine.  This sense of “we” is pivotal in any sporting culture, and this sense of fan inclusivity is evident in the myriad videos on social media channels made by CSK fans for CSK fans (featured below is one made in San Francisco, CA, USA going viral right now on YouTube as this article is written).

CSK as an innovator initiated a few novel schemes be it the Mongoose bat in 2009 or their catchy “Whistle Podu” and “Raise your Hands” jingles to seduce fans worldwide.  Last year, CSK fans broke into the “Whistle Podu” song and dance at Landmark, a book store chain in Chennai, proving that promotion today is democratic in the digitized world of social media and viral videos.

The restaurants and bars are riding the CSK wave by offering their guests CSK-styled menu (see below Park Sheraton’s Cricket Mania Menu).

Fostering Brand Loyalty:

In the past 5 years since IPL’s inception, CSK has about 1.5 million (consolidated) fans on Facebook; New York Yankees has about 5 million.  But, the Yankees was established back in 1901 – CSK only in 2008.  CSK legend, Matthew Hayden, has a photostream on Flickr.com posting pictures from CSK dressing room and cementing ties with CSK fans (search for ID TheHaydenway).  CSK continually tweets and keeps its subscribers and fans engaged by giving away awards and rewards, while the players directly promote the CSK summer sports and casual apparel collection online via YouTube videos (see below) fostering a more direct relationship with fan base.

I was in awe when my friend’s octogenarian grandmother spent $5,000 and went on her own to Salt Lake City, UT to support Chicago Bulls in the 1998 NBA finals.  She proudly wore the Chicago Red in the road games against Jazz.  After almost a decade when I moved to London, England, I realized that New York Yankees transcended as an icon of the world – Londoners wore Yankees’ merchandise in a similar New Yorker pride – I’ve seen many with the NYY logo tattooed in permanent ink.  So far, I have spotted a handful CSK fans in their yellow jerseys in New York and New Jersey this season.  Scores of CSK fans congregate on groups in social media outlets.  For instance, “Second Slip” is the most popular hang-out on Facebook (restricted admission).  With the social web democratization, the CSK brand emerges as a sports club of the people by the people and for the people out of all IPL teams.  In a few years I am sure to see the CSK’s roaring lion logo, tattooed and commodified like Oakland Raiders or New York Yankees.

Should you wish to connect with the author: @iSudio on Twitter

For author’s insights and thinking in branding, marketing, or strategy, please find his keynote presentations at:  http://www.SlideShare.net/SudioSudarsan  You should be able to download them for free.


About Sudio Sudarsan

Sudio Sudarsan helps companies and startups drive demand and impact through more effective use of their brand, marketing, design, digital, and innovation assets. He teaches advanced courses in marketing to MBA students at premier b-schools in three continents around the world. You can follow him on Twitter @iSudio; view some of his retired presentations at www.SlideShare.net/SudioSudarsan View all posts by Sudio Sudarsan


  • Kyla Shrewsbury

    Well articulated and well researched article! I only wish other cricketing nations, for instance England, Australia gave more attention to IPL.

    • Bala Kumar

      Australia does have a decent IPL following when compared with England. It’s mainly because of the total no. of Aussie players represent the IPL teams unlike the English.

  • Anonymous

    Very well written, Sudio!

  • Mathangi Srinivas (@mathangis)

    In following the IPL only for the last two years, I was beginning to wonder why the other IPL teams don’t have a catchy jingle and such to promote their brands. Your blog post pointed out the targeted efforts of excellent brand marketing and how CSK owns their fans…Thanks for writing and sharing such valuable insights. Keep ’em coming!

  • Anonymous

    Well said.The consistency is only because the franchise retained and bid almost the same throughout the editions.Thanks to dhoni for his efforts. Hope they will win this time also.
    “Enga thala dhoniku,Periya whistle podu”…..!

  • Vijay Chacko

    Very well written and makes for engaging reading. Could you share your email id please. Thanks

  • Anonymous

    Well conceived article Sudharshan. Could have dragged Kerry Packer also in the evolution of the short form of cricket.Good work buddy.

  • S.Gopalakrishnan

    Well conceived article Sudharshan. Could have dragged Kerry Packer also in the evolution of the short form of cricket.Good work buddy.

  • Kanwal Talwar

    Very well written and engaging!

  • Dharmesh Samraj

    Whistle Podu.. Big one for CSK and a bigger one for brand ambassador Sudio..

  • Anonymous

    Very well written Sudarsan! Gr8 to learn that so much goes into a success of a brand & this abt our own CSK !! Surely a Whistle Podu for CSK & to you!

  • Chandramouli

    Awesome… Loved it 🙂

  • Deshmukh

    I am from Madhya Pradesh and we do not have any IPL team. I also have watched them detachedly. But now, Sir, after reading your post (shared by my colleague on Facebook), I can say I am a CHENNAI SUPER KING fan.

  • Anonymous

    Super Duper!!!! Proves one more thing – CSK fans are as great as the CSK team…. True winners in every way … Speaks great about my home city.. chennai……… and Sudio….. Great stuff…………….

  • Mali Ramamoorthi

    Super Duper!!!! Proves one more thing – CSK fans are as great as the CSK team…. True winners in every way … Speaks great about my home city.. chennai……… and Sudio….. Great stuff…………….

  • Ramkumar

    Good compilation!!! Keeps the reader intact!!! Whistle podu to CSK………..

  • Anonymous

    As “well”
    scripted as the IPL…

  • Shreesha

    Wish the author spent more time working on the facts than writing a commercial pot boiler on CSK.. For instance crickettadka says MI has the highest no of fans on social network when compared to the other teams.. The article is as good/bad as the IPL…. And now that the author has been invited to help CSK in brand building we can expect a lot more “Creativity” in his blogs..

  • Ramesh Prabhu (@zbrain)

    First, wonderful post again, going under the covers to find out what makes a brand tick! While I agree with all of the elements that make up a brand, I think you are missing a key element… success. I don’t think any of these brands would have the loyalty they command if it weren’t for the success that’s attributed to them.

    Tennis great Roger Federer and his “RF” brand is one of the best known, internationally, and while his incredible game has a lot to do with it, I’d think most of it has to do with all the records that he has broken. Similarly, I think CSK’s win last year propelled them into people’s psyche as a brand to covet.

    I’d love to see a post on Roger Federer and his “RF” brand. If you do write one, you’ll be surprised at the eyeballs your blog would get. I would be more than thrilled to promote it myself to the RF fanatics I know on twitter 🙂

    • Sudarshan Fan

      Dear Author,

      Please consider writing about Roger Federer.

      Thank you very much for your kind consideration.

      With best wishes,
      Your fan.

  • Mad

    How perfectly unbiased, sensible and engaging.

  • Maruthi Raj Manivannan

    Yet another example of CSK reaching out to it’s well wishers and going an extra mile to connect with it’s fans…Amazing article Sudarsan…I saw our dominating performance against MI live yesterday, was high on yellow fever and your blog just made that intense support for CSK even worse…God Bless You 🙂

  • rama

    I just read your blog post on CSK; Sudanukku oru whistleodu oru periya ‘O’ podu.

    • Madhavi S.

      Why can’t many reporters, editors write such articles in India about cricket????? It truly made me get goose pimples!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    Great Article …keep rocking up wit ur blogs …

  • Sharadh

    Very well written, clearly well researched. The jingles, especially, felt so much like a fan-mashup on youtube rather than anything else. The video, well, how inclusive was it – beaches, temples, “Anna Salai”, “Maamis”, and what not. Tells us why we support CSK (I’ve nailed my colors to the mast now, haven’t I?) while many support Dravid, Sachin or Gayle 🙂
    I was interested in that graph earlier. You had some big names there and interesting axises. Would you consider editing the piece to include an explanation, from a branding perspective?

  • Venkatesh

    Well that was a great article and i never know there is so much effort and analysis behind this. True MBA stuff. That’s how i love MUFC also, they all have a great brand value and a more catch is you cant see the owners in spot light for both the teams, they drive drive the team and let the laurels flash on the team and not them.

  • Bee

    To start with, Mumbai twitter account do not even tweet when mumbai starts losing! And I can go on, but really, it isn’t worth it. Lol. I can sense more jealousy than criticism. Hahahahah CSK ROCKS! 😀

    • Dharmesh Samraj

      thanks @Bee.. your last line summarized everything..

      @Shreesha, yeah I did clean up garbage left by my brother and yourself from my wall, not because of any resistance to accept your so called criticism as you think.. I suggest that you first look up the word critique in a dictionary and understand it’s meaning, before invading your friend’s brother’s wall and offend my friend who you don’t even know, with filth and call it criticism.. If you are indeed an avid social network user as you claim to be, you would understand that such simple etiquette cannot be violated.. Feel free to express your opinion freely in your own wall and keep your drivel to yourself..

    • Anonymous

      One word: Engagement.
      Total number of anything usually misses the point. Dollars spent? So what if they weren’t spent smartly. Total fans? Useless if they aren’t involved – especially in Social Media.

      • Bee

        And crickettadka.com it seems. Hahahahhahahaa seriously didn’t know that site even existed until now! Dharmesh Samraj – Cheers dude! 🙂
        Btw, I loved this blog, Sudharshan! Shared it with every CSK lover I know 🙂 Very well-written!

        • MI to CSK Fan

          I’m born, bred, live and work in Mumbai. This article has now created a cloud in my rationality. Do we have to support teams based on places or based on how we think teams should be made? I am very disappointed about the Mumbai Indians team management, how they are engaging our fans on-ground and online, and how they are playing crucial playoff games. With me many MI fans need to stand up and think, and who knows many of us may change our loyalties to teams like Chennai Super Kings, which seems to CARE for its fans and PLAY quality cricket which is how it MUST be.
          Sudio Sudarsan: YOU ARE THE MAN. What an awesome piece! This should be published by Indian papers and many should read.

  • Guna Sekar

    Perfect tone and words!
    This is the first time i’m visiting your blog.
    Dear, You made me bookmark it. The way you’ve conducted your research and analysis is so very transparent under this article. Keep going, All the best.

  • Venkat Subrahmanyam

    After reading this article…it gave me goosebumps….i always knew CSK had something big going on…But not this big…THANK YOU Sudio Sudarshan…YOU ARE THE MAN…..you made all the CSK fans happy with your amazing work….Keep it going…in the mean time…WHISTLE PODU…!!

  • AB

    Nicely written Sudio!
    With the ‘über’ cool captain MSD leading the way, lots more whistles will be heard in the future! He (MSD) seems to have mastered the art of ‘power-play’! My definition of ‘power-play’ is empowering his teammates be themselves which allows them to step-up with confidence!
    Keep the good ones coming…Cheers!

  • vijay

    Your post again is a typical case of unexpected sucess, like our csk or the kolaveri song.. U posted it at the right time of the season wen we, csk fans, are ecstastic abt csk’s performance against mumbai. Winning from an underdog position always has its melodramatic emotions kindled and ur post was inviting to celebrate it. Also the contents soothes the fan by saying we are actually a part of csk which makes us like the post more. U r a gud brand manager. U deserve to be csk’s consultant. Gud work..

  • Den Kravec

    Very well written, Sudan!

  • karthick

    With all proof quickly erased in time by the fan of the blog in his fb page, where he has the person who posted as a friend, i don’t understand what social networking preaching is happening here. That would have been proof enough on what was filth, who started name-calling, ‘ha ha ha ha s’ happening when content is lacked etc. Anyways lack of objectivity is also not understood, somebody pointing out content errors is painted as a mumbai fan, getting jealous of things – is not only kidstuff but utterly naive.

  • Prashanth Krishnan

    This is a terrific article on CSK and IPL in general. While it does not talk much about the actual cricket, it explains several management aspects of the team.

    I’ve not been an avid participant of CSK in social networking sites and I’ve only followed Chennai’s exploits on TV and never been to the stadiums or promotional events, never been part of flash mobs and haven’t been in awe of the videos they post but there are thousands of fans like me who feel greatly attached to the team just by the way they play their cricket and conduct themselves on and off the field.
    I know that RCB, MI, KKR and other teams have tried different types of promotional events and found success too- Rajasthan Royals even tried to expand into English soil by merging with Hampshire-a County team. This article would be complete if it mentioned such attempts and explain why they failed.
    There was an article in 2009 that said that after two years KKR were the only team that broke even through the sale of fan merchandise.

    I believe the success of Chennai has to do with consistency and continuity. While several teams mixed and matched players and tried other gimmicks like uniform-changes, new cheerleaders and what not, Chennai kept the same core of players throughout. It seemed like a government job- getting into CSK- you could only retire or resign- never get kicked out.
    They retained several players and bought back the rest during the reshuffle auction in 2011.
    In fact you could count the number of players that slipped out of CSK over the years with the fingers of your hand- Ntini, Flintoff, Muralitharan, Balaji, Parthiv Patel.

    That created a powerful attachment with the fans- they started growing in on the players, celebrating the players’ every little achievement like they were brothers. That not only brought love from fans but gave great results on the field as players, who were strongly backed, delivered and CSK are on course to win their 3rd title in a row.
    CSK even won the Fairplay award in 2008, 2010 and 2011- that’s showing good team ethos which no fan will ignore. Brash teams like MI and KKR wouldn’t attract the decent fans.

    In conclusion- like stated in the article- other team owners look at IPL as a business transaction and talk about profit margins while treating cricketers like cattle- to sell and buy as they please. CSK treats even unheralded players like giants and rarely sell or transfer. Hence they prosper.

    • Prashanth Krishnan

      My comment was misunderstood. I have nothing against fans of other franchises- it’s the players. For example, if you have been following MI, this year under Harbhajan’s captaincy has been a case in point. There have been some ugly confrontations with umpires and players of other teams. While there are always disagreements in a heated moment, Dhoni and his CSK players have always dealt them with class.
      It’s ridiculous that Harbhajan who has played for so long with Dhoni never learnt anything from the experience. This wasn’t the case when MI was under Tendulkar.
      Similarly there have been incidents with other teams but CSK has always stayed clear of controversies- that was my point. Such “clean” teams or players (like Federer) go a long way towards ensuring fan loyalty- and even if you don’t convert other teams’ fans, you gain their respect.
      Furthermore, funny that you should mention over rates, since that is the reason why Chennai are not in the running for the Fairplay award this year- this wasn’t the case in earlier tournaments.

  • karthick

    Selective absorption kills the mind, this should be an eye opener for many comment posters here; Again the valuation is provided by Brand Finance as referenced by the author only and it is as current as today: Read thru pls… And Mumbai without winning any title is perched on top as it was last year also (again i am no mumbai fan, not even an ipl fan) http://www.indiantelevision.com/mam/headlines/y2k12/may/maymam118.php

  • Sudio Sudarsan

    Thanks for your overwhelming responses. It has been unprecedented and unforeseen. Sorry I was late to respond.

  • Dustin Overbeck

    As an American, the only cricket I know is an insect, yet I still read and enjoyed your article, and watched the videos. Don’t let the hate mail bring you down!

  • Matthew Davis

    Sports are dangerous subjects. Fandom knows few demographic, psychographic, and ethnographic borders. Which means the likelihood of your words falling in ears less inclined or prepared to hear them is high. The mere mention of a team elicits rabid responses, worse for a perceived sleight.
    Now Sudio, imagine if you had written about the branding lessons to be learned from studying major religious organizations. The zealotry is only slightly less in sports.
    Most people do not like to learn about the tools and tricks that brands and marketers use, just like they don’t *really* want to know about statecraft. They’d much rather not be forced to look behind the veil.
    You combined the two. Made people look and at the same time seem to have found an audience motivated enough by your words to respond. Bravo.

  • Tweeter

    If you have a hammer , everything looks like a nail ?

    IMHO the strength of CSK brand is not due to its marketing and brand positioning. It’s because its led by Dhoni.

    The day Dhoni leaves CSK , the astute team selection and palpable team spirit will disappear.

    I am not a marketing professor , but all the big sport brands are famous because they are mostly successful and have

    inspiring leaders or atleast great players. If I may add , great team chemistry as well. Ex. MANU (Sir Alex Ferguson , Rooney , Giggs , Scholes.. Ronaldo ).

    Almost everyone I know , including me , did not follow any CSK matches this season. But when they suddenly

    qualified for the playoffs , my FB started overflowing with posts.

    In a country where leadership is rare , Dhoni is a legend and success of the CSK brand is only because of the success of the

    brand “Dhoni”.

    P.S : It is owned the by the President of BCCI and barring KKR / MI / RR other team owners play a very low profile. I am also leaving out controversial areas like the team selection , team budgets and fixing issues.

    • Dan Isaac

      0-4 in England and 0-4 in Australia. Enough said about Dhoni. The article is not about winning you idiot; it is lessons on how CSK brand is built that other IPL teams have not.

      Professor Sudarsan, awesome insights on branding. Who knew there’s much to learn about fan engagement and digital democratization from the Third World.

      If you happen to teach or visit in London, please inform over Twitter or Facebook. Would love to listen to your lectures on-ground.


      • Tweeter

        Dear Dan ,

        I can see that you are a big fan of the author. I can hardly see what you will understand from his lecture or from any other lecture , if you cannot see accept different opinions.

        Lets assume I am an idiot . The only way to prove it is by seeing if CSK stands up as a brand even under these circumstances

        1. Dhoni leaves CSK
        2. And CSK stops winning.

        If they still stay as a valued brand, you can then argue that its their superior brand positioning and marketing.

        Incidentally , your author has acknowledged in the comments that he has not considered “success” of the team as a factor for being a successful brand . So there you go. We(Me and some other commenters) see that it is the critical factor for the brand’s success which , if true , makes his whole research about brand positioning and marketing rather moot.

        If you can understand Tamil , which I am sure you don’t , you can see that the song posted praises Dhoni as well as the CSK. Such is his brand power. You don’t understand what these ads say , not sure how you are disagreeing that Dhoni brand not influencing CSK’s brand value. Dhoni won the world cup . Thats enought to sustain his brand value for a long time.

        And you are naive to assume that any professor who teaches marketing is absolutely right in whatever aspect he discusses.

        Who knew there is so much to learn about fan engagement from the Third world ? Seriously ? First world arrogance ?

        The article is famous not because it has some unique insights about branding. Its because he is analysing about IPL / CSK / Cricket. Even the author would agree that there is no unique insight on branding here.

        If you are not from India and you don’t follow IPL from here , drool over your professor , but stop calling people names.

        Third world countries are used to having an open mind in analysing opposing views. Am sure Londoner can learn from it.

        Sorry for the rants Mr. Sudarsan. No offence intended .

        Have a nice day , Dan.

        • Aussienator

          Hilarious to read such mindless support to Dhoni. It was HAYDOS before and it is BEN HIL the one and only today. Dhoni is at best a good manager – never a leader.

  • karthick

    Guess it is the 2010 valuation, the only time csk was on top, then again it was only at 48.4 m$ and no team was at 70 odd m$. Guess the wikipedia values you picked up is not right and researched. I read the blog only because it is about branding and was pretty sure something is awry from first read as csk is not no.1 despite winning.

    As a matter of fact, the case in point with the teams is that their valuation has nothing to do with their performance. The top teams on valuation had/has been KKR, CSK(before they won any), and MI for the last few years. The brand embracement which you talked about needs to be elaborated further as the MI team is clearly on top for 2 years with the team not winning and not embracing as much as chennai(which i am clueless still). I guess all teams do a lot of brand engagement, the buzz is bigger for CSK because it is winning and it is the home team for most here including the author.

    A better case study still would be Mumbai rather than dismissing them because, they are perched on top for two consecutive years, they have never won the title, sachin no longer leads the team or is a standout performer, pune could have taken out some supporters away from them from the state, yet they are valued high for the second year and it calls for a feature on similar lines.

  • Rach Schmitz

    I work in M&A and know the methodology used by most valuation consultancies both sides of the Atlantic. NONE use social listening to calculate reach, frequency, etc in their measure of intangibility and customer engagement yet. Sad but true! So, Sudio, you are spot on in your earlier response. Often times, individual firms use third-party valuation to report increased intangibility valuation assuring goodwill only at the time of merger, acquisition or buy out. Also, Sudio has used reports from 2011 in his article; as you may know, the 2011 measurements are published only in 2012 (year later), and 2012 will only be published in 2013. After all, we are only five months into 2012. Another observation point is that IPL overall valuation seems to be depreciating, which may be your central theme for the next blog.
    As a cricket enthusiast, I found your article very refreshing, and has a consultant who does number crunching day in and day out, I found it intriguing about your argument on democratization of brands in general. Don’t know when we are going to wake up to that reality which almost all over us for the past 2-3 years with the success of social web.
    IPL and cricket does not get much attention in England, probably as a nation we are still jealous about its success, but it seems your blog, Sudio, has gotten more people to stand up and look. Does the author want to publish any geo-demographic based analytics for this blog post? I’d love to see how many read from England. I was informed about your article by my friend and classmate Thursday night – checking now and I am glad to respond to one of the comments above.
    Please keep such articles coming. Love the invitation for you write on sports personalities as someone suggested!

  • Rach Schmitz

    I work in M&A and know the methodology used by most valuation consultancies both sides of the Atlantic. NONE use social listening to calculate reach, frequency, etc in their measure of intangibility and customer engagement yet. Sad but true! So, Sudio, you are spot on in your earlier response. Often times, individual firms use third-party valuation to report increased intangibility valuation assuring goodwill only at the time of merger, acquisition or buy out. Also, Sudio has used reports from 2011 in his article; as you may know, the 2011 measurements are published only in 2012 (year later), and 2012 will only be published in 2013. After all, we are only five months into 2012. Another observation point is that IPL overall valuation seems to be depreciating, which may be your central theme for the next blog.
    As a cricket enthusiast, I found your article very refreshing, and has a consultant who does number crunching day in and day out, I found it intriguing about your argument on democratization of brands in general. Don’t know when we are going to wake up to that reality which almost all over us for the past 2-3 years with the success of social web.
    IPL and cricket does not get much attention in England, probably as a nation we are still jealous about its success, but it seems your blog, Sudio, has gotten more people to stand up and look. Does the author want to publish any geo-demographic based analytics for this blog post? I’d love to see how many read from England. I was informed about your article by my friend and classmate Thursday night – checking now and I am glad to respond to one of the comments above.
    Please keep such articles coming. Love the invitation for you write on sports personalities as someone suggested!

  • Ajay Deol

    Being a Chennaiite/CSK fan seems to be the only motivation behind the article. The timing of the article also suggest the same. The brand valuation reports are so dated and wrong as pointed out by a few and there is no deliberation on what fan engagement activities compared to the other IPL teams have worked in favour of the chennaii team.

    The writer clearly seems to be from Chennai and has no clue to mention the fan participation activities carried out by KKR and MI to mention a few. A few organised flash mobs and a menu card sadly do not make a great sporting brand. The tone of the article and that of the comments in defence are all in defence of team chennai and not brand chennai, sadly, which is what this article purports to be. On the above two points I cannot presume that the post is ‘unbiased and well-researched’.

    Brand valuation as someone pointed out is not helped by the team wins nor improves with the clout of the owners. It is a complicated exercise. I request you to spend time in Kolkata during the IPL or talk to fans and non fans hailing from there. I am from Delhi and support no team, but the KKR passion is amazing when it comes IPL as I am based there currently. No other team can come close to it. And to think of it, that passion is sustained with a string of bad performances over the years and now with the celebrated son of the soil is also removed from the team. In fact as someone rightly pointed out, KKR is the first or only team to break even in the second year of operations mainly due to the brand sponsors and merchandise sales pullued in by SRK, helped by the passion of their supporting fans.

    Chennai is invariably benefited by the momentum it carries with the string of wins and possibly this year also, looking at the ‘scheme’ of things. I also expect the blog owner to give a fair deal to the outside views expressed in contrary to the subject matter of the article by moderating the comments and see to it that they are not gheraoed by a few inane csk hooligans as seen in the comments section.

  • Dharmesh

    Screw the stats and evaluations guys.. no Indian, daredevil or knight rider can even come close to the lions when we are on the hunt.. we’ve witnessed that in the last 5 years and every CSK fan believes that it’ll continue for a long time in future as well.. So stop envying CSK’s success and try to support your own teams..

  • Pratyush Nalam

    Please become a fan of the largest fan-managed CSK page on Facebook! Completely run by the fans!! http://www.facebook.com/iplchennaisuperkings

    Whistle Podu for the lions!!

    • Ajay Deol

      Many people here are trying to fool themselves and others saying that they are a die-hard Chennai supporters and hence they will support their team for life. Wake up guys, were you supporting the Chennai Superstars ICL side anytime? Have you ever supported your local state Ranji team last season? Can you name the teams beaten by Tamil Nadu in the last Ranji season?

      You are Dhoni fanatics and that is it. He captaining the Chennai side is just a happy accident for you. And this CSK branding is much of Dhoni’s branding, rightly pointed out, the jingle itself eulogises Dhoni. Any other guy captaining, there would not have been this article or any such rants. period.

      • Ajay Deol

        There is no cricketer from Tamil Nadu in the national scene after Kris Srikkanth worthy of mention till now and you had to sing the praise of a borrowed icon captain. Sad case. Speaks about the sad state of cricket management in the state. Take a long hard look at it before faking state patriotism.

      • Pratyush Nalam

        You are fooling yourself Ajay. There are no prerequisites to become a fan. I support CSK because I stayed in Chennai for 5 years. Stop attaching conditions to become a fan. There is no reason why I should know about the Ranji Team or the ICL side. Period.

        • Ajay Deol

          hi pratyush, you well answered my point. as you have no reasons.

          • Pratyush Nalam

            I think you haven’t read my comment. I said I support CSK because I lived in Chennai for 5 years and I love the city. You’re just another troll over here.

            • Ajay Deol

              If i’m a troll, what does it make of you walking in and promoting your fan page with no reference to the article or discussion ? Selfless ?

              • Pratyush Nalam

                The article is about CSK. I’m inviting CSK fans to join the fun at my page. Pity you who only sees negativity everywhere.


                • Ajay Deol

                  The article is about branding and how and why CSK became a top brand (when it is actually not). You came in for selfish reasons like you track “CSK” keyword in all blogs and sites and tried to promote your page link for selfish interests with no contribution or viewpoint to the article except a fan rant. Grow up kiddo.

                  • Pratyush Nalam

                    Oh come on. I don’t go around tracking CSK in all blogs. Neither am I so jobless nor do I have the time. I came here because Sudio is my friend and came to know about the article. And I did praise the article. You must be blind. Really.

                    • Ajay Deol

                      I belive you. Really.

                    • Ajay Deol

                      What was your contribution to the article? – ‘Whistle podu’ ? Great contribution. Your text here is so generic that it can be cut and paste just about anywhere. And you claim you don’t track keywords. Such honesty. Great Job.

                    • Pratyush Nalam

                      I only saw this article because my friend told me to read it. I have more important jobs to do rather than tracking CSK on all blogs. Studying at IIT Bombay and doing an internship doesn’t leave much time. And I would rather do something else in my free time than tracking CSK on the Internet. I have my own blog to look after too Mr Ajay. So stop being a troll.

  • From the land of spurs

    @ Ajay – you sound pretty frustrated when you wrote this… ICL was shut down even before it was good to be seen by anyone….Do you think anyone will put any negative NPV investment for any such project- why should you even try to brand or support teams when the league does not even kick start ? The author is talking about IPL branding and is focussed. You seem to talking in a tangent about ICL, Ranji Trophy etc etc.. which is not the purpose of this article…

    My observation from your lengthy story…. You are from Delhi and you have written your comments on May 26…. You know what happened on May 25- DD lost badly to chennai….. Your frustration is clearly shown as anti chennai in this article..

    SInce you have spoken so much about cricket … My few questions and clarifications

    You seem to knowing lots about cricket ( which is great and appreciate your knowledge )

    – KKR kicked out their son ” Saurav Ganguly” and imported a new captain from out side Calcutta . CSK named Dhoni captain in Yr 1 and he still remains a captian…. you know what ….when a person has led his life close to 20 % of life – Yes, he is an adopted son and chennaites are proud about it….He is taken as good a care like the real sons of chennai like Murali Vijay, Badri or Ashwin or international cricketers in the team… The real differentiator is CSK team is definitely a well knit family and that is leading to success………

    – Passion – You talk about passion and i am really getting more curious just thinking about this .. KKR must have ensured their son Saurav Ganguly must not been sent out from the team….. Don’t you think so?

    Calcutta fans been bad emotional fans in the past – Recollect WC 1987, A great like Sunil Gavaskar saying he will never play in calcutta …. I still love the passion they have ….. But will anyone have the heart of chennai fans to give standing ovation to a good cricket played by the Pak team to defeat India… My point is in India everyone has passion towards cricket and is a religion —- whether it calcutta or chennai or delhi or mumbai…….

    You know what …..my fav ground today is Calcutta and its crowd for its sheer size and intensity… ( Definitely thats chennai style of appreciation … they love good cricket wherever its played … )

    … Calcutta has produced two cricketers in the national scene – Arun Lal and Saurav……. My Fav captain is Saurav – love his aggression… We have won 3 WC so far — Just see count how many tamil nadu cricketers are there and how many from WB…

    Anyways long story short ……. 1) first …Your cricketing talk seems to be totally off base to the topic in focus in this forum.. 2) second the timing of your cricketing lashes at TN / CSK appears to be connected with Delhi’s loss….

    Thanks and really appreciate your sound knowledge on cricket…….. Good luck for the KKR/CSK match.. hope the best team wins…..

    • Dharmesh

      What about former Delhi captain Gambhir leading kkr now? Loyalty is something all other clubs must learn from CSK fans, players and the management. Others in India don’t even have the patriotism of foreign newspapers reporting McCullum’s KKR and Warner’s DD..

    • Ajay Deol

      You tried to construe something assuming me a delhi fan, and after two paragraphs, you assume me a kolkata fan.. such immaturity. you lower my image of chennai. sadly.

  • Anon

    Absolutely great article on branding.

  • Ajay Deol

    It has become a trend in many online forums to assume somebody putting contrasting views as an opposing fan and taking comfort in that.

    Mr. Noname from the land of spurs, I was generally talking about the fake patriotism of towards base teams in IPL with half baked knowledge and people taking scourge in their home team with hidden passion towards an indidvidual being the core reason. ICL and Ranji did/do not have that and hence no supporters. That is the plain truth. This is not directed at any one team ie CSK, this is applicable to all teams and their supporters in IPL.

    So if you can write any substance without assuming my loyalty or support, you can which i doubt.

    Dharmesh, what are you referring by loyalty, not bidding for muralidharan, balaji (who was picked for peanuts by KKR) and getting a ravindra jadeja for 2 million ? You are talking as if your team is above all else. They have also picked and chosen teams like anyone else. They retained many players just because they won a title with them and releasing them into the auction would be risky as winning team members are always fiercely bid by the nonsense advisors of teams. An aussie bowler in bollinger was the reason for them qualifying last year and they wanted one more this year. As you can see, the two guys who were made big by Shane warne in the first ipl win went for massive amounts in the second auction – ravindra jadeja and yusuf pathan.

  • Anonymous

    The kitsch and passion of bollywood won the cup; the pursestrings won the valuable brand second time. The ‘uber cool’ writhing under pressure – Ouch ouch ouch that ought to hurt.

  • Anonymous

    What Chennai spirit, standing ovation were talked about here ? the stadium was 95% empty when the trophy was given away..

  • ajay goel

    As expected, looks like the biased writer and his supporters have taken an year’s hiatus to live again another year. So long guys. All the very best.

  • Wombat5

    Every team in IPL depends so heavily on foreign cricketers. What would CSK be without Ben today or Haydos yesterday? But, among the undue dependence of few select players CSK is better – more of a team than others teams. Mumbai solely depends on West Indians and Malinga’s slingers, Banglore on Chris Gayle and AB, Kolkatta on Sunil Narine, etc. I do not underdstand why so much wank on Dhoni and Indian players. Just learn you Indian dicks if quality exists in IPL it is solely because of Australia, West Indies, South Africa, and other foreign international players. Your current generation and the next is going to be so spoilt of money and success of IPL that is going to ruin Indian cricket which has NEVER played unbeatable cricket outside the subcontinents flat tracks, featherbeds, and turner graveyards.

    Secondly, now we already know a few IPL players have been talking to bookies. Indians on a whole are a corrupted bunch. What else can you expect from the Third World servicing the entire world on software menial work? What branding do you want to write about to tell the MBAs in classrooms of civilised worlds I do not understand. I wish the author writes about Big Bash, Olympics, Tennis Grand Slams or cricket conducted in England, Australia, etc for real learnings to students and practitioners. The brands of the first world are the best and you third world people have to consume what we throw at you. Hahahaha.

    The Wombat5

  • Ajay Deol

    Kudos to you, Mr. Karthick, Kaayes , Tweeter, Anonymous and myself, this piece on CSK/IPL fanaticism has met its end here and quickly. I am sorry that the writer and their supporters who found IPL as the greatest sporting brand of the country have met their match and are mourning still with just one club (their favourite, ofcourse and the motivation for the piece) losing. Sad.

  • Sanjay Rajachandran

    Great write-up for a marketing class. If you chose to put a celebrity to champion a cricket club, you definitely run the risk of his stupidity diluting the brand. But, are Indians intelligent to care? India’s population is still a largely uneducated who will readily accept to extend support from the actor they love to the sports club or a product they endorse.

    When smoking is banned from public places, SRK chooses to smoke from the stands, next to children. How can an owner of a cricket brand and a celebrity be so stupid! He can be stupid and still be fine, because Indians are so stupid.


  • nathanjohnbarnes

    Thanks for the great article, Sudio.

    We need to keep an eye on the successful branding in the sports world, and the
    emerging markets that are embracing cricket provide an excellent example. As cricket
    endures in popularity, the potential for capitalizing on the emotional relationship
    between fans and franchises will grow.

    It seems to me that the sports and religious sectors will continue to provide fertile
    ground for branding – at least the opportunity is there for successful practice.
    I love that you included YouTube videos that highlight your points – I’m stuck in an office
    in Dallas, TX and I don’t think that I have ever seen a cricket game or its dedicated fans.
    I also appreciate your other work – I hope that other readers will take the time to visit
    your links.


    Nathan Barnes, PhD

  • Nazli Ahmed

    Haha, well said Marvellous Eddie. You may want to include Car-thick with the Ajay^2 jackass. CSK 4eva!

  • Marvellous Eddie

    Ajay Goel and Ajay Doel are two jackasses or may be the same jackass with alternative spelling as, jackarse, who find solace in rough-hewn, bush-league writing that has no logical sense whatsoever. I wish the author of this blog eliminates such crap.

  • kaayess

    First, there is a clown product named Rajnikanth that you depict as world’s superhero.. then there’s the worthless “kolaveri-di” that you portray as the national anthem? I wonder how long would you put the rest of India to shame with such low stuff? Now you compare CSK to ManUtd? Are you really crazy? Do you have any idea the only good thing about CSK is that they are consistent in their IPL results.. otherwise, brandwise KKR or MI are far far away. Its pretty hard to accept but this scorching Chennai heat is getting on to your heads.. someday when you grow up you would realize what class is.

  • mary

    nice article about csk we’ll also support chennai super kings(whistle podu)

  • Shweta

    Very well written!

    Although I like the ‘Raise your Hands’ slogan.. I miss the ‘Whistle Podu’ days. ‘Whistle podu’ has got a more local flavour and it makes it uniquely Chennai!

  • Anonymous

    WOW!! I still am stunned this keeps happening again and again in this day and age. I am so glad I was not jogging. We have asked for the future. I will follow the change in the future.

  • Immigration Adviser Graves end

    An outstanding share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a coworker who was conducting a little research on this. And he in fact bought me dinner because I discovered it for him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending the time to discuss this subject here on your web site.

  • CSK: The Case of the Winning IPL Cricket Brand - Hult News

    […] article published by Sudio Sudarsan here. Should you wish to connect with the author: @iSudio on […]

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