What's in a Name?: Team Names and Fan Development in the Indian Premier League

So, you decide to spend millions of dollars (or many, many, many crore of rupees, in this case) to launch a franchise-based professional cricket league in India. Let’s call it the Indian Premier League, since all top-flight leagues these days are premier.

Indian Premier League. Now with more Premier.

Eight teams based in eight regions, with international stars and a good portion of the national cricket team scattered amongst the league. These players previously were identified with the national team, and much of the country cheered for all of them, as a single team. For league play, though, you need people identifying with their “own” team.

How do you get people to form a deep (and therefore lucrative) affiliation with their regional team and root against their national team heroes? This duality of fan loyalty poses an issue for all sports with the club/country split (as is most often seen in soccer), but particularly for a sport like cricket that, in India, has mostly been focused on international play.

The answer? Cheerleaders imported from America. Oh, and spiffy team names.

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