Supergiants & Knight Riders? What The ECB Might Learn From IPL Names

The impending launch of the new 100-ball competition proves one thing in my eyes: the ECB are absolutely obsessed with the IPL. They’ve looked enviously at the money it rakes in, and they’re desperate not just to emulate the IPL but to better it. The goal, I assume, is to demonstrate that English cricket can be even more innovative, alluring, and perhaps even as influential one day, as its Indian counterpart.

Although I think the ECB have no chance of achieving this – the BCCI didn’t alienate existing cricket fans when they set up the IPL – it will be fascinating to see which aspects of the IPL’s marketing the ECB tries to imitate. The most obvious starting point is to create sexy team names that will presumably appeal to kids and impressionable adults. And why not? Anyone who’s watched the IPL knows that the franchises are the life and soul of the tournament’s culture.

There’s no doubt that the IPL rules the roost when it comes to funky names. They’ve had some crackers, as well as some stinkers, over the years -from the Delhi Daredevils, which is a perfectly-formed name that’s raises a smile without being too whacky, to the thankfully now defunct Rising Pune Supergiants, which must be one of the most eccentrically named franchises in sporting history. Although Peruvian football club Deportivo Wanka runs it close.

Unfortunately for Delhi Daredevils, however, the delightful catchiness and alliterative symmetry of the name hasn’t inspired the team to great heights. In fact, they’re one of only three teams – the others being the Kings XI Punjab and Royal Challengers Bangalore – never to win an IPL title. Poor show.

Interestingly it’s the team with the most humdrum name, The Mumbai Indians, who have enjoyed the most success: they were crowned champions in 2013, 2015, and 2017. If the ECB’s investors are looking on keenly, as I’m sure they are, perhaps they’ll create a team in a similar mould – something like the London Englishmen seems natural. And if they want to raise the bar, as I’m sure they do, why not add a little extra dimension? The London English Gentlemen sounds spiffing.

The other IPL teams have historically enjoyed mixed fortunes – although it’s hard to ascertain how much this has to do with their names. Three of them follow a ‘royalty’ theme: the Chennai Super Kings (I assume they’re referring to an outstanding monarch rather than a best-forgotten cigarette brand), the Kings XI Punjab, and less creatively named but solemnly dignified sounding Rajasthan Royals.

Tom Harrison and Colin Graves will no doubt have identified that the UK has a royal heritage that might be exploited too. Indeed, the UK’s royal family is world renowned. I’d therefore like to recommend the following IPL-inspired franchise names: The Birmingham Beefeaters, The Manchester Markles and, of course, The Leeds Lizzies. All these suggestions are a marketer’s dream.

There’s also room, I assume, to imitate the Royal Challengers Bangalore in some form. I’ve placed the Royal Challengers in their own category (separate from the other ‘royals’) because I assumethis team is actively challenging royalty rather than being a collective of challengers (generally speaking) who happen to have royal blood. If my assumption is correct, then I’m very much looking forward to the English equivalents. The Southampton Subversives and the Cardiff Conspirators should do it. It’s a real shame that Scotland wasn’t blessed with a 100 franchisetoo, otherwise we could’ve had the Rutherglen Republicans. What a treat that would’ve been!

The other IPL team name that’s impossible not to love, especially for Michael Hasslehoff fans that love the concept of talking cars, is the Kolkata Knight Riders. This is one of my all-time favourite names. I’m sure that Andrew Strauss is scouring his copy of the Radio Times right now as he sourcesother classic TV shows. Don’t worry Lord Brocket my son, I’ve got the perfect suggestion for you: it’s the Nottingham BattlestarGalacticas. It rolls off the tongue beautifully.

Last but not least we must turn to the 2016 IPL champions, the Sunrisers Hyderabad. Personally I love this name – mostly because I’m a huge fan of solar events in general. As the marketing men will confirm, this name is both positive and aspirational. It promises a bright future and infuses its passionate supporters with an infectious optimism.

Because the IPL has been a huge success which has taken Indian cricket to new heights, it only seems natural that the ECB’s 100 competition is blessed with it’s own sun-related franchise.However, it’s probably more fitting for the ECB to create a team that reflects English cricket’s rapid descent into bankruptcy once the new competition bombs. With this in mind, I suggest that the second London franchise be called The Waterloo Sunsets.

Any thoughts?

James Morgan

Written in collaboration with Hotstar

2018-05-04T10:45:18+00:00May 4th, 2018|Fun|32 Comments


  1. James May 4, 2018 at 11:20 am - Reply

    The Birmingham Biffers has a nice alliteration to it, as does (to some extent) the Manchester Mindless Sloggers (OK, that one won’t happen). We could have the Eastern Sunrisers (geographically accurate), and, since the IPL names are not sufficiently hyperbolic, the Bristol Royal Universal Emperors (I’m pretty sure Chris Gayle would sign).

    I believe Fred Boycott wants the “Leeds team” to be called the “Yorkshire Diggers”.

    • James Morgan May 4, 2018 at 11:39 am - Reply

      Love the Bristol Royal Universal Emperors

    • Pete Cresswell May 8, 2018 at 12:24 pm - Reply

      “Bristol Bears” was taken last month by the Bristol Rugby Team (and already belonged to a homosexual meetups’ club …)

  2. JackieL May 4, 2018 at 11:30 am - Reply

    There are things we must hope TV screening won’t copy i.e. every time there is an action replay the name of the sponsor is flashed before and after on the screen. This can be multiple times if there is a sequence of separate replays. Just hideous. It was so bad I began to think I couldn’t watch any more because I began to dread the flashing name on screen. Someone has just become too fancy with information as well. Constantly popping up to distract us from the action. The IPL cricket has improved, bowlers have entered the fray, the screening less so. Cluttered.

    • James Morgan May 4, 2018 at 11:38 am - Reply

      Do you think there’s a chance the teams might all have individual sponsors in the 100? There might be the Investec Consulting Lions or even the Durex Roundheads.

  3. Marc Evans May 4, 2018 at 12:06 pm - Reply

    Here’s a helpful list of the cities proposed for the dumb down with some starting points.
    Manchester – has to be something connected with the rain.
    Leeds – the Capital of the North in God’s own country.
    Birmingham – the 2nd city something’s or Brummagem or Canal related.
    Cardiff- I would go for the ‘Arcadians’ (apparently has more of these than any other UK city.)
    London – (x2) one has to be ‘The Smokes’ plus maybe a name from some local landmark.
    Nottingham – the ‘Queen of the Midlands’ so a royal connection here or something Robin Hoodish. Also could be related to the mysterious fact that the city has a 3-1 population of women to men. Something in the water maybe. The ‘Trentems’
    Southampton – Can’t think of much here – need help.

    • James May 4, 2018 at 12:49 pm - Reply

      Thanks Marc. I think the idea is that the names should be as OTT as possible, so here’s my go:

      Manchester – Rain Gods
      Leeds – Straight Thunderbats
      Birmingham – Metal Superkings
      Cardiff – UltraDragons
      London (Lord’s?) – Giles Clarke Superchoppers
      London (Oval) – Turbogas
      Nottingham – Superarrow Outlaws
      Southampton – Solent Superstrikers

      I was running out of inspiration (or should that be “megainspiration?) towards the end.

      • Marc Evans May 5, 2018 at 12:41 am - Reply

        The London ones could be fun using Cockney rhyming slang. Imagine Stewart explaining it to Kohli.
        I’ll start it off with ‘The ol’ cock sparras’

      • Marc Evans May 5, 2018 at 12:56 am - Reply

        If they want to attract the youngsters how about naming each team after a local band connection. They play enough music at the matches.
        London could have ‘The Cockney Rebels’ for example with their own built in signature tunes.
        Anyone want to take of from here?

        • Marc Evans May 5, 2018 at 10:32 am - Reply

          Well if nobody’s going to play I can play on my own. Sod you!
          Manchester – ‘The Red Devil’s’ after Simply Red.
          Leeds – ‘The Chiefs’ after the Kaiser Chiefs.
          BIrmingham – ‘The Wizards’ after Roy Wood and his merry men.
          Cardiff – ‘The Preachers’ after the Manic Streets.
          London (lords) – ‘The Lords Levellers’ after Level 42.
          London (oval) – ‘The Cockney Rebels’
          Soton – ‘The Batters’ after Mike Batt (cue wombling songs)
          Nottingham – ‘The Stardust’ after Alvin.
          Would be worth going just for the music.
          There must be some better ones I’ve missed. Go on ‘Ave a go joe’.

          • James May 10, 2018 at 10:53 am - Reply

            Birmingham could have the Black Zeppelins? What about “Happy Mancdays”?

      • JohnB May 6, 2018 at 10:03 pm - Reply

        Oval Omnipotent Overlords?

    • Kropotkin May 4, 2018 at 12:50 pm - Reply

      Southampton Spitfires, surely!

      • Marc Evans May 5, 2018 at 12:25 am - Reply

        Should be Birmingham Spitfires

        • Glenn May 7, 2018 at 6:45 am - Reply

          …but it is…the Kent Spitfires. Although us Kent peasants are not allowed to take part in the new Harrison’s Balls Cup

  4. AB May 4, 2018 at 12:16 pm - Reply

    In reality, they’re all just going to be thoroughly uninspiring and meaningless, aren’t they.

    I can’t see the point of calling a team the “Nottingham” anything, when there is already a team called “Nottinghamshire”, who most of the locals just call “Notts” or “Nottingham” anyway. and there aren’t many Robin Hood nicknames left, once you factor in that all the names are already taken by the the cricket team (nottingham outlaws) baseball team (nottingham rebels) softball team (sheriffs of nottingham), university baseball team (nottingham thieves), university softball team (nottingham arrows).

    Surely it will be the East Midlands Stars or Central Smashers something deliberately bland and inoffensive.

  5. Cricketcricketcricket May 4, 2018 at 2:19 pm - Reply

    It’ll catch on and take over like 2020 has. It’ll be marketed well, it’ll be spoken up like 2020was/is and baked with big finances and corporate days out.

    It’s the future so sadly let’s jut accept it. Nothing we can say or do will change a thing.

  6. Andy Cheese May 4, 2018 at 5:06 pm - Reply

    Don’t forget that the IPL suceeded because there wasn’t any existing white ball cricket in India when it started. In the UK there is already the Blast and the One Day cup. I don’t get how a new white ball competition is going to make things better. Put the money into the Blast instead!

  7. Andy Cheese May 4, 2018 at 5:08 pm - Reply

    If you want people to get involved then just make the Blast free-to-air on BBC or ITV – problem solved.

  8. MediaPenguin May 4, 2018 at 7:25 pm - Reply

    Well it’s true Lancs already have weather related teams in the Lightning and the Thunder. Word around the place is that this theme may be continued with current names touted including Lancashire Tornadoes or Red Storm. One thing is certain – we won’t be asked our opinion.

  9. Doug M May 4, 2018 at 9:22 pm - Reply

    I really don’t think this is a very good post. Do we really want to discuss this topic? Well I don’t, absolute no interest.

  10. Smylers May 5, 2018 at 7:11 am - Reply

    ‘Kolkata Knight Riders’ also looks like it was thought up by somebody who’d heard that names like ‘Delhi Daredevils’ were good because of repeating the place’s initial letter … then somehow managed to pick a word that begins with ‘K’ but doesn’t sound like it.

    The Pontefract Pterodactyls, anybody?

    • Pete Cresswell May 8, 2018 at 12:26 pm - Reply

      KKR’s owner (who’s a Bollywood movie star) actually bought the rights to the name off the Hoff!

  11. SimonH May 5, 2018 at 9:45 am - Reply

    Having any sort of territorial association is so limiting to any modern business, don’t you know? They might have to decamp to the Caribbean or Dubai at a moment’s notice and who can run fast with all that baggage? How about the Elite Mateships…. or the 33rd Degreers… or the Countdown Conundrums?

    Meanwhile in other news, with the First Test less than three weeks off, where are the appointments of Ed Smith’s little helpers? And according to The Times, the day when Giles Clarke will no longer hold any formal ECB position is at last approaching.

  12. AndyB May 5, 2018 at 10:06 am - Reply

    As I may have mentioned before…….

    In the light of the ridiculous nature of the competition, and the suggestion that the West Ham owners may be interested in backing the London team, I assume in those circumstances they should be named The Dagenham Dildos. Seems to nicely capture the qualities of both the sponsors and the competition.

  13. MediaPenguin May 5, 2018 at 11:27 am - Reply

    I have no interest in this subject person…….so why are you reading it?

  14. May May 8, 2018 at 10:00 am - Reply

    Graves Diggers
    Nottingham Boys from the Hood.

    That’s it. I’ve lost the will to live.

  15. SimonH May 8, 2018 at 6:20 pm - Reply

    A couple of quotes from Daryl Mitchell from today’s ECB-PCA meeting about the 16.66:

    “[The ECB] are very keen to stress that it is still a concept… It is not set in stone, it is still a concept and an idea – but one they are very keen on.”

    Does the ECB’s track record give much cause for confidence they’ll listen to reason?

    “Another concern is the likes of Joe Root and Ben Stokes. They’ll be allocated to a team for marketing purposes but won’t be playing… The point was made [by the ECB] that this new audience won’t necessarily know who Stokes and Root are anyway.”

    In the immortal words of Basil Fawlty, oh Buddha….

  16. Cricket-Now May 15, 2018 at 6:25 am - Reply

    IPL teams have the most idiotic names ever!

    Rising Pune Supergiant/s – explains itself.

    Royal Challengers Bangalore – A team named after a whiskey brand “Royal Challenge”, hats off to the creativity!

    Kolkata Knight Riders – Are you Knights who like to Ride or a group of people who love to Ride the Knights?

    Kings XI Punjab – OK so 11 of your players are kings, and what about the rest of the squad, are they poor? Can they call themselves kings if they make it to the playing 11? That would be a great story for “rags to riches”

    Sunrisers Hyderabad – What really is does “Sunrisers” mean? Do you guys help the sun rise?

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