On 7th April 2018, at 6:15 pm sharp, families gathered around their television sets for the opening ceremony of the Indian Premier League. The richest of the world’s T20 cricket leagues, this yearly saga needs no introduction. The IPL kick-started with the Mumbai Indians taking on the Chennai Super Kings. Now this is the first season after GST implementation, so some changes were inevitable. From an increase in the price of various sporting equipment to a hike in ticket prices, the impact of GST is far-reaching. Here is a detailed analysis of the Impact of GST on IPL, other premier sports events and the Sports Industry.

Recognized sports body

Under GST, a recognized sports body refers to :

A federation or a body which regulates a sport at the international level and its affiliated federations or bodies regulating a sport in India.

Therefore, based on the above definition, Board of Cricket Council of India (BCCI) is considered to be a recognized sports body for the purpose of GST. As far as IPL is concerned, only a few services (Example: services provided by umpires directly to BCCI for supporting IPL matches) will be exempted. Rest other services are liable to GST.

The services of support staffs of IPL team and the commentators remain taxable.

GST Accounting, GST Impact on IPL

GST Impact on IPL Transactions:

Selling Broadcasting media rights, IPL title sponsorship, corporate sponsorship, auctioning franchises rights are the major source of revenue for BCCI and IPL Franchisees.

  1. IPL title sponsorship: BCCI promotes the Brand VIVO through IPL. Sponsorship services provided by BCCI to VIVO Mobile Communication Device (Dongguan) Co. Ltd is Liable to GST @ 18% under Reverse charge. This means that VIVO is liable to pay GST to the government directly.
  2. Brand Promotion Services: As per IPL rules space on player’s jersey, sports kits, sleeves, trouser pockets, rear and sides of helmet is available for sponsoring. All sponsorship services/brand promotion services that franchises provide are subject to GST @18% under reverse charge.
  3. Franchise service: As per the “Franchise Agreement”, the franchisee has been granted certain rights and obligations. The services are classified under as licensing services for the right to use trademarks/franchises. The BCCI is liable to pay GST @18%.
  4. Sale of IPL media rights: Star India won the global media rights of IPL for a period of five years (2018-2022). Star India also won the audio-visual production rights for IPL for the 11th season. GST @ 18% is applicable to licensing services to broadcast the tournament. The services come under the group broadcasting, programming and distribution services. BCCI will pay the tax (subject to the agreement if any between BCCI and IPL franchise for the payment of GST).

Player’s services

There are two contracts that a player gets into – one with BCCI and one with the franchise (the team the player is a part of).  However, it cannot be said that the BCCI is sub-licensing or assigning the players’ to a franchise. As stated above, only the services provided by the players, coach or team manager for participating in “sporting event” organized by a “recognized sports body” are exempted. Therefore, the players’ services provided to the team don’t fall under GST Exemptions.

The franchisee pays the player not only for playing the matches but also for promotional activities.

S. No Services




Value of Supply GST liability




1 Sports and recreational services A portion of player’s tournament fee (as per the player contract) Transaction value

(retention money/auction price)

Registered person will raise invoice at the end of the tournament along with GST @ 18%. (including the monetary value of incentives received) Franchisee shall pay GST @ 18% under reverse charge on player fee including the incentives provided.
Team performance related incentives Valuation rule 27 is applicable 

(if consideration is not wholly in money)

2 Sponsorship services and brand promotion services A portion of player’s tournament fee (as per the player contract) Transaction value

(retention money/auction price)

Registered person will raise invoice for the brand promotion services rendered along with GST @ 18%. Franchisee shall pay GST @ 18% under reverse charge mechanism.
3 For individual performance related price money received there is no services agreed to be provided by the player to the sponsors before the match. Price money awarded at the end of the match for best performance by the sponsors Not applicable No GST since the transaction doesn’t amount to supply under GST.   


IPL match tickets

Under GST, club sports events like the IPL attract a GST of 28%. Tickets for events organized by National Sports Federations (NSFs) will attract GST at 18%. National sports leagues which earlier enjoyed exemptions are also under the tax net now.

Each respective franchise decides the ticket price for home matches. The minimum cost of IPL tickets is highest in Bengaluru (INR 1,700) and lowest in Jaipur (INR 400). The sponsors and the BCCI get a small portion of the ticket prices. Further if one books the tickets online, they also have to pay GST @18% on internet handling charges collected.

However, tickets priced below INR 250 are exempt from GST.

Costlier sports goods

The biggest impact in the industry is evident on the price of sports goods, a number of which are set to go up. Earlier, the sports manufacturers paid a 2% excise duty on goods, after the government imposed the charge in 2011. Under GST, these goods fall under the 12-28% slab, a steep rise from the previous charges.

The manufacturers had asked the Council to place the sporting equipment under the 5% slab, stating that it is still a cottage industry.

E-Way Bill Services, GST Impact on IPL

Since the Council doesn’t recognize a number of items like sports helmets, boxing headgear, etc., as sports goods, the GST rates for these vary. Here’s how the kit of an IPL player is taxed:


GST Impact on IPL


The biggest blow, however, is for athletics, gymnastics and table tennis equipment, all of which is taxed at 28%. Sports manufacturers earlier paid 2% excise duty on goods. Other essential fitness items, including shoes, skipping ropes, etc., also fall under the 28% slab. Industry insiders are of the opinion that the new tax rates will have a negative impact on the industry growth.

Well, it seems like nothing can deter the cricket enthusiasts – whether it is the high 28% GST or the match-fixing rumors. The opening match saw fans flocking the stadium on the weekend. And the current gold-winning streak at the Commonwealth Games also proves that nothing can dissuade the athletes and gymnasts either!