Lalit Modi- Success Behind IPL

Unprecedented Success of IPL

Lalit Modi is a man, who was instrumental in launching the Indian Premier League (IPL), a league based around Twenty20 version of cricket.  This is the most modern version of cricket, which is limited to just 20-overs.  He is also compared to Bernie Ecclestone and Don King, because of the magical success of the IPL in terms of revenues.  In a short span of just five years since 2008, the IPL has emerged as one of the world's leading revenue generating sports event, with a whopping sum of US$4 billion a year.

A Smart and Unconventional Entrepreneur

Modi’s entrepreneurial skills are self-evident.  He is a street smart entrepreneur, who capitalized the limited over cricket’s popularity with a heavy dose of marketing, celebrity and glamour quotient, and auction of cricketers.  He completely transformed the face of cricket in India and turned it into a multibillion dollar annual affair, which is passionately watched and anticipated by more than 20 crore people on satellite channels in India alone.     

A Star with a Record Commercialization of Cricket in India

According to modi, he had locked in contracts worth over Rs. 47,000 crore for BCCI in just five years of his term as VP BCCI.  There is no doubt that Lalit Modi is one of India’s most successful and visionary “business weavers”.  He has a multifaceted personality with diverse background in industry, entertainment and sports.  His business genius finally culminated in the inception of the IPL in 2008, which became a leading global event in terms of popularity and commercial value.

Education and Career

Born in the city of New Delhi, Lalit Modi attained his primary education from Bishop Cotton School in Shimla and later on from St Joseph's College, Nainital.  He was a brilliant sportsperson during his school days and played various sports including cricket.  He appeared for SAT (scholastic aptitude test) held every year for getting admission into undergraduate courses in US and scored pretty well.

He then went to US and joined Pace University in New York in 1983 and later on joined Duke University in North Carolina.  He was criminally tried for keeping drugs, kidnapping and using weapons to kill and injure.  A plea bargain resulted into the suspension of his prison sentence in North Carolina. 

After college he joined Philip Morris Inc. in US followed by Estee Lauder, where he honed his marketing and advertising skills.  

He came back to India in 1986 and joined Geoffrey Philips India Ltd.  At present, he is the chief of Modi Enterprises, the multibillion dollar business empire founded by his father.  

Modi is relentlessly passionate about the game of cricket and his passion kept him moving from one state association to another in India, until he became VP, BCCI.  He surprised the world by his innovative streaks and launch of IPL, which later on created history.

Career Chronology

Lalit, 49, launched his career as MD and president of Modi Enterprises.  In 1993, he proved his business acumen by launching his entertainment portfolio of business by partnering with Walt Disney Pictures.  It was aimed to bring the programming from the renowned studio of the world directly to Indian homes via satellite television.

The very next year he forayed into the sports broadcasting world through a joint venture with ESPN of US to telecast its sports content to Indian audience.  His passion for the game of cricket finally led him to become the president of Rajasthan Cricket Association in 2004.  He also joined BCCI, the national cricket control board of India the same year and took responsibilities to promote commercial interests of the board.  

Transformation of BCCI and Commercialization BCCI, which was earlier a cash-starved sports association, started to see a commercial revolution under his visionary leadership.  He struck some innovative deals with Nike, ESPN, Sony, Viacom, and Sahara and ultimately increased Indian cricket board’s revenues at least seven times.  In 2008, the board raked in a total of $1 billion in terms of revenues. It was a huge success of the Indian cricket board in the international arena.

Launch of IPL

In 2008 itself, Modi crafted and founded IPL, which mixed glamour, sports and Bollywood. The T20 version of cricket features several franchises, which “buy” the best cricketers from the world, regardless of the country they are from.  It has become a phenomenal success in India and abroad, much more than one day and test cricket’s combined popularity.  You can imagine the commercial success of IPL by the fact that prestigious Forbes Magazine termed IPL as the ‘world’s hottest sports league’ in 2009.

BCCI Champions League Twenty20

Lalit Modi initiated the Champions League in 2009, where teams of different cricket-playing countries such as England, Australia, India, South Africa, West Indies, Sri Lanka, and New Zealand took part.  It was also inspired from the success of the IPL, the domestic T20 league and a venture of Lalit Modi himself.  

Modi Enterprises, his Rs. 4000 Crore Family Business

Lalit Modi is the MD and president of Modi Enterprises, his family venture and a big enterprise with a turnover of Rs. 4000 crore.  He has also been the executive director of Godfrey Phillips India, a leading tobacco company in India, since 1992.  Modi Entertainment Networks (MEN) looks after the satellite TV division and telecasts content from Walt Disney Pictures especially Fashion TV. 

Threats to life

Lalit Modi and his family are living under a constant threat from underworld and his rivals at BCCI.  He received threats to his life from famous underworld don Chhota Shakeel in 2009.  He had to leave India in 2010, following a series of threats.  He is currently residing in London and pursuing a number of ventures, just like his earlier innovative creations.


Lalit is married to Minal, the woman he met during his college days in the US; they have three children Ruchir, Aliya and Karima.  Karima, his step daughter is married and lives in London with her family.   

His deals

Modi is an avid businessman and you can learn the art of marketing and deal making from him.  In 1994, when he had just started his sports broadcasting business, he signed a deal worth $1000 million with ESPN for ten years for pan India broadcasting rights.  He also signed a four year team sponsorship deal with Sahara Group worth $100 million.  An apparel sponsorship deal was signed with Nike for team India worth $50 million for four years.  His biggest deals are $600 million media rights deal with Nimbus and a whopping $1.25 billion media rights deal with Sony.

There is no doubt that he is the smartest and quickest thinker of modern times and he has unmatched business promotion acumen, which is unheard of in India at least.  

Salary of Lalit Modi

We have not found salary data of Lalit Modi when he was working as member of BCCI or the chairman and commissioner of IPL from any reliable sources like ToI, Forbes, ET and other reputed news papers and Media houses, but once the investing section of businessweek magazine has published the salary means Total Calculated Compensation of Lalit Modi i.e 11,000,000 INR per year.

Last Updated: June 27, 2013

Tags : Modi Entertainment Networks (MEN), BCCI, IPL, Modi Enterprises, BCCI Champions League Twenty20, ESPN, Sony, entrepreneur, marketing, advertising

About Nashaat Quadri

Freelance Content Writer (Compare Infobase, New Delhi.) Ex Sr Content Writer, Western Software, New Delhi. Ex Relationship Manager, Mashreq Bank, Dubai.