In data we can release today, we unveil India’s favourite Indian Premier League (IPL) teams and players.
In a survey conducted by YouGov Sport (SMG Insight), Chennai Super Kings come out on top – the favourite team of a remarkable one in three of those we asked. Mumbai Indians are runners-up, with support from 20% of respondents, followed by Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders.
Today’s data publication is part of a series of pieces of research which YouGov/SMG Insight is conducting into the Indian sports market.
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The same clubs dominate when respondents were asked for their second favourite teams, with the Super Kings topping this league too, picking up the support of 27% of respondents.
The popularity of the Super Kings is driven somewhat by the team’s captain, veteran MS Dhoni. The former India test skipper is wildly popular with fans – he was named by 41% of the public as their favourite IPL player. His popularity – and that of the Super Kings – will not have been harmed by the Chennai outfit winning the 11th season of the IPL in May this year.
The IPL’S second most popular player is current India captain, Vivat Kohli. Although he polls only half the support of Dhoni at 19%, his popularity still places him a long way above the IPL’s next most popular Indian player – KL Rahul on 3%.
India’s favourite overseas IPL player is South African AB de Villiers – something which will have helped propel his side, the Challengers, up our popularity rankings. Evergreen batsman Chris Gayle comes in second but he’s only a third as popular as de Villiers.
Although it’s no surprise to see Dhoni and Kohli at the top of our poll, we did expect the result to be closer. But Dhoni’s success with the Super Kings this season, combined with his performances for the national side over the past 14 years, means that Vivat has a long way to go before he surpasses his former captain’s popularity.
Dhoni’s profile also feeds into the popularity of the Super Kings. We see across every sport that success breeds popularity and, as the league’s most successful side, we would expect the Chennai side to be one of India’s favourites. What will be interesting is whether the Super Kings can maintain this kind of popularity once their captain and superstar retires from the game. How do you replace the irreplaceable?