Legends League Cricket: A 300-Million Success Story That Brought Nostalgia to Fans

The first season of Legends League Cricket witnessed so many legends from Asia, India, and the World that it surpassed the expectations of many people, including the CEO and Founder Raman Raheja.

The Legends League Cricket tournament was a rousing success in the first season. (Image credit: LLC Twitter)
By Siddharth vishwanathan | Mar 22, 2022 | 6 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

In cricket, the performances of legends often leave a sense of nostalgia for the fans. Who else was not a fan of Shoaib Akhtar and Brett Lee’s bowling actions? How many people wanted to be like Virender Sehwag, Yusuf Pathan, Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif? There were many who just took up the game on the brilliance of Sachin Tendulkar and his strokes. When all the legends retired from active cricket, they took up a new role of being media analysts and cricket commentators. But, it was felt that their days on the field were over.

However, amidst the Omicron COVID-19 wave, a new league sprung up. It was a serious cricket tournament that bought back all the legends of the game back on the field. The mere presence of all the legends back on the cricket field roused the inner nostalgia of a million fans.

Legends League Cricket (LLC) had conducted their first season during the peak of the Omicron wave in Oman. On TV, there were promotions on primetime of the league by Bollywood Megastar Amitabh Bachchan. There was uncertainty whether it would be successful. In a spectacular show, it was not only successful but it surpassed expectations. The global reach was 300 million. The average TV rating was 300 percent higher than any other international T20 league.

Read More: Ravi Shastri Opens Up on India’s Performance in South Africa

For Raman Raheja, the CEO and Founding Member of Legends League Cricket, these numbers gave him double delight. After the success of the Pro-Kabaddi League, the success of Legends League Cricket was simply another feather in his big hat of success. In an exclusive interaction with Sportslumo, Raman Raheja highlighted the key factors behind the success of Legends League Cricket.


Was the target of Legend League Cricket Targets Far Fetched?

There was some uncertainty. We were scheduled in a clean window where not much of India cricket was happening. We had scheduled it to be in March. But, we knew IPL was coming and it was late March. We decided to prepone it as it was too close to IPL. This was a decision Ravi Shastri and I took. We were not prepared to postpone it further.

Looking at all the T10 and other T20 leagues, not many have India players. We wanted to peg it on India vs Pakistan rivalry. The Asia Team had Pakistan players in Legends League Cricket. India vs Pakistan takes place only in ICC events. This was one of the reasons why the numbers increased. All the legends have a huge following on their social media. If we have to bring those fans in, those numbers would increase. There were 59 players with a combined fan following of 360 million on social media. That was the reach that we had planned.

When Legends like Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag did not come, did you suffer a jolt?

We are treading on the space where they are not active cricketers. We cannot expect them to be fully fit. During season one, they were not sure. Not just India but a lot of the players. They were a little reluctant. Being out of cricket for some time and coming back to active cricket was a challenge. In our contract, it was specified it was not an exhibition match. It was a serious match. They had to sign with the physio Andrew Leipus for improving their fitness.

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Sehwag was completely fit. He was scheduled to fly out in January and he went for his COVID-19 Test. But, he tested positive. We tried again on 21st but he was again positive. He was contracted to play, along with Yuvraj and Harbhajan. Both Sehwag and Harbhajan turned positive. Yuvraj was scheduled to have a baby on January 20. His baby came on January 27. Tendulkar was not part of the team.

Will there be a Fixed window for Legends League Cricket?

We will never compete with competitive cricket as we are not in that space. We have to compliment and promote cricket in territories that have decent followers. That is why Oman was chosen. They have never seen big legends. With so much cricket, we have to fit ourselves in. We are committed two seasons a year. We have to have a lot more cleaner days.

When we started, India was playing South Africa. For the first two games, it was coinciding. On the second day, it was Asia vs World. Our TV ratings matched the India vs South Africa match TRP. These cricketers have a huge fan base and there is an appetite for fans of these players.

The Promo by Amitabh Bachchan was Fantastic. Did that help in the Promotion of Legends League Cricket?

It was my toughest challenge. From day 1, it was clear we are talking about legends. It has to be disruptive marketing. We do not want to go the cricketer route. These legends have to be on the field. I would want to have a face that is a representative legend. Amitabh Bachchan fits that. He cuts across genres. We wanted the family audience.

If a product has to be successful, it has to be pegged to prime-time viewership. It was tough to get him on board. It took three and a half months to agree. He had never endorsed any cricket product. He is a big cricket buff. Even none of his films were associated with cricket promotions. Akshay Kumar promoted his films in IPL and World Cup. He was not sure whether he would be selected in that genre.

Since it was a new league, he was critical of who are behind it and who is playing. Are we approved? His team went through the diligence process and that is why he took time. In season 2, he is going to be our endorsement. When you see his Instagram handle, he put out a picture of him playing cricket on the sets of Trishul. That is where I saw a fan in him. My deal was simple. He would be the face and we would cut a promo. There was never an agreement that he would promote it. But, he was so into it that he promoted it on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook which is rare. There was confusion on whether Sachin was there. He apologized and said it was his confusion.

How crucial has Ravi Shastri been in the success of Legends League Cricket?

Ravi Shastri has played a role in Indian cricket like never before. If you look back in the last 40 years, he has been a cricketer, manager, administrator, and coach. He has been a journey in itself. His experience in all of the aspects is what he brings to the table. He gives suggestions on where to play, the promotion of the league, and also get networks aligned to our assets. Ravi Shastri is the biggest asset to Legends League cricket.

The Future Goals for Legends League Cricket?

The future roadmap is to retain this kind of excitement. That is the core target that we have. We will be hosting two seasons. We will be announcing our second season in September end. The idea is to see these legends on the cricket field. Jo dikhta hain who bikhta hain (What is seen can be sold). That is our motto. The idea is to keep the competitiveness going up. This time, because of Omicron, fitness was not in our control completely. The idea of making the announcement so early is to make the players ensure they maintain peak fitness. Oman is the venue for the second season. There will be extensions and it will be played in newer destinations.

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