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T20 champ Gujarat Titans patiently building a long-innings for business in IPL arena


Indian Premier League’s new kid Gujarat Titans is special. To clinch the trophy in the debut season and finish second in the following season in the world’s second-most valuable sporting league and perhaps the most glitzy and tough cricket league is no mean feat.

However, the champions of the 20-20 game sounds humble and does not gloat about its laurels that the cricketing fraternity is celebrating. Rather, the team looks determined to build their innings much like a disciplined batsman of a red ball game would make. The franchise sounds to have their foot firmly on the ground, while it builds on business performance, revenue generation and eyes to achieve long-term goals.

Dream start and off-field revenue impact

Winning is a game-changer in the world of sports and it ripples through every facet of the franchise, affecting revenues, brand image, and fan engagement. In the IPL, each franchise’s primary source of revenue comes from a substantial share of central revenue rights, which include sponsorship deals, media rights, and other income generated by the BCCI. The revenue distribution among the franchisees is based on their league standings, with the first-placed team receiving the lion’s share. In both their debut and second seasons, Gujarat Titans topped the league standings, securing the highest revenue share.

Sponsors are naturally drawn to successful teams, and Gujarat Titans capitalised on their victories to attract premium sponsors.

However, the franchise was discerning in its approach. They sought partners who shared their vision, objectives, and were committed to a long-term association. For Gujarat Titans, sponsorship is not just about the financial aspect; it’s about mutual growth and leveraging each other’s strengths, according to Gujarat Titans’ COO Col Arvinder Singh.Gujarat Titans had already established multi-year deals in their debut year, creating a culture of commitment and trust with their sponsors. Instead of rushing to extract more from existing partners after their initial success, the franchise chose to focus on maintaining and expanding partnerships thoughtfully, the COO said. This approach has contributed to their sustainable growth in sponsorships.

Consolidation before expansion

“We are a new franchise, we are a new brand. It takes time, effort and money to develop a brand. We are ready to do that and we are not in any tearing hurry,” SIngh said.

With their remarkable success and growing influence, one might wonder if Gujarat Titans have plans to expand their presence in other leagues or regions. The COO’s response is clear: the primary focus is currently on Gujarat Titans.

The franchise is aware of the potential for expansion into other leagues or regions, but they are determined to establish themselves as a strong IPL franchise first. Gujarat Titans aims to build a robust ecosystem and consolidate their presence before considering any further expansion initiatives.

“Get the first thing in order, and in place before spreading your wings or spreading yourself too thin. So let’s see how it pans out. At the moment, GT is our prime focus,” Singh added.

Striking a balance: Money and brand building

While Gujarat Titans acknowledges the importance of revenue, they don’t treat it as the sole driver of their strategy. Their primary focus is on building a brand that resonates with fans, sponsors, and partners. In their own words, they aim to be the “most entertaining and engaging franchise in the IPL.”

“If we start counting the notes now itself, we will never be able to establish a brand. Yes, I’m not taking away the fact that revenue is important. But that’s not the primary driving factor. Profit will happen. They will increase, but let us first create a brand, a franchise which people like to associate with,” Singh said.

This brand-building strategy prioritises long-term sustainability over short-term financial gains. Gujarat Titans recognises that building a strong brand takes time, effort, and investment. They understand that getting bogged down by immediate financial targets can hinder their goal of becoming a franchise that people are proud to associate with.

For Gujarat Titans, success on the field is a part of their brand-building journey, but it’s not the only piece of the puzzle. Their medium to long-term objectives, spanning three to five years, involve creating a brand that resonates with fans, sponsors, and the broader cricketing community, Singh said. They believe that by achieving this objective, financial success will naturally follow.

Navigating sponsorship challenges

The sponsorship scenario at the moment faces many challenges, according to experts. Economic scenarios and market dynamics can influence the sponsorship landscape. The question that arises: Has Gujarat Titans faced similar challenges?

COO Singh reveals that Gujarat Titans did not encounter such challenges so far. Their approach to sponsorship and brand building has been so robust that it has shielded them from the turbulence affecting other sectors. They believe that IPL sponsorship remains an attractive proposition for brands, offering unparalleled visibility and reach.

The franchise’s clarity of thought, strategic understanding, and commitment to their long-term vision have contributed to a stable sponsorship market for Gujarat Titans, Singh said. The franchise seeks to leverage their partnerships effectively, whether through visibility, activations, fan engagement, or outreach.

Gujarat Titans’ strong emphasis on mutual understanding and alignment with sponsors has resulted in a stable sponsorship market. As the COO says, sponsors appreciate not just the team’s success but also the overall ecosystem that Gujarat Titans have created.

The affordability of IPL sponsorship remains a critical consideration in Gujarat Titans’ strategy. The franchise believes that the IPL continues to be a favored marketing medium for sponsors due to its unrivaled visibility and reach.

The COO also flagged how legacy brands are now key sponsors for the tournament and franchises. “There came a period in between where there were a glut of newly-funded startups, new industries that started investing into IPL. Right? Over the last year, you saw a sudden shift in that with legacy brands coming back to the IPL,” Singh said.

Cricket skills over reel appeal

One of the most intriguing aspects of Gujarat Titans’ approach is their emphasis on cricketing excellence over individual brand value when selecting players. They prioritise building a strong team on and off the field and believe that team success enhances their brand value more effectively than individual accomplishments.

Gujarat Titans had announced Hardik Pandya as their captain when he was not having the best of times. He wasn’t regular in the national side and was nursing injuries. Gujarat Titans also believed in veterans like Wriddhiman Saha and it picked Mohit Sharma in the last season, who made a comeback to the game as one of the tournament’s leading wicket takers. Even much of Shubman Gill’s heroics for the national side has come about after GT picked him from Kolkata Knight Riders.


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