The Indian Premier League (IPL). With $25 million in seed money from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to recruit players, he still faced much risk and uncertainty. Would Indians enjoy a fast-paced, three-hour version of a game whose current short form took all day? Would they root for teams based in various Indian cities instead of for a national team? Would the BCCI and other important cricket boards around the world buy in to this new format?
The BCCI gave him his recruitment money on the condition that he run the league out of his personal Mumbai office, earn no salary, and pay all personal costs incurred in pursuing IPL interests. Modi, in turn, agreed, with the stipulation that the BCCI would not interfere with the operations of the IPL for the first five years and would defer to his judgment in the selection of the IPL Board of Governors.
Thus, Modi’s task, as he neared the realization of his dream, was to create the right set of incentives to motivate players, broadcasters, franchise owners, and the various cricket boards to support the IPL. What kinds of deals should he strike to guarantee long-term commitment without conceding too much of the earnings he expected the league to generate? And what should he do to ensure that the IPL would become a permanent part of the Indian sports landscape?