The Royal Challengers Bangalore are a Bangalore-based cricket team that play in the Indian Premier League. They were one of the founding teams, playing in the very first season, but as of 2016 they have yet to win a single title, despite coming close on a couple of occasions. In fact, they are one of the unluckiest IPL teams, with two final exits, two semi-final exits and no victories to their name.
The Royal Challengers Bangalore were one of the 8 franchises listed for sale by the BCCI during the founding of the Indian Premier League. The franchise was purchased by Vijay Mallya, who is the chairman of the UB Group. This Indian conglomerate has interests in a wide range of products, including drinks, aviation and real estate. The price he paid was a little over $111 million, a fraction less than what was paid for the Mumbai Indians, making the purchase of the Royal Challengers Bangalore the second highest in the league.
The name “Royal Challengers” was the owner’s choice and comes from one of his best-selling alcohol products. Royal Challenge is an Indian whisky that was first launched in the 1980s and sells around 2 million cases globally every year, a lot of which remain in India.
There are several ambassadors to the team, including Bollywood stars, and it has a huge following both in and out of Bangalore.
In the second IPL season the Royal Challengers Bangalore made it all of the way to the final, only to lose to the Deccan Chargers, who were appearing in their only final to date. In 2010, the very next season, the Royal Challengers Bangalore made it to the knockout stage again, this time losing in the semi-finals. A year later they went one better and played in the final for the second time in the league’s history and the second time in 3 seasons. Again though, it wasn’t to be their day and they lost to the Chennai Super Kings, one of the league’s most successful teams, and one that would later go on to claim victory in the Champions League Twenty20.
2015 was the next time that the Royal Challengers Bangalore would make it through to the knockout stage, and this time they wouldn’t see beyond the semi-final again. The Royal Challengers Bangalore were actually one of the favorites for this competition, indicative of their competent performances over the years, but it seems that they lack that clinical touch when needed.
One of the biggest players for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, certainly in the early years, was Ross Taylor, an instrumental cog in the machine that generated many big victories for the franchise in 2009 and 2010. In 2009 they also signed Kevin Pieterson, who made his way to Royal Challengers Bangalore for $1,5 million at the same time that Andrew Flintoff left for the Chennai Super Kings. Flintoff was a big disappointment for the Super Kings as he only played three games before being struck down by injury, but Pieterson was a little more valuable for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. He played six matches as captain, before heading off to play international games for England. He would return to the league in 2011 after a short break, this time signing for the Chargers.
Rahul David was a big player for Royal Challengers Bangalore, one of their most consistent performers and one they relied upon many times, whilst Virat Kohli has also been called upon a few times to save the day and set the gears in motion for a big win. This includes in 2011, when he scored 70 runs from 44 balls against the Super Kings, only for the team to struggle in other areas and to lose the game.
The Royal Challengers Bangalore played in red and yellow during the first season, but this was later changed to gold and red, with blue then being added from 2010 onwards.
Because of its connection with the whiskey, Royal Challenge, this is the team’s main sponsor. However, the owners left no stone unturned where advertising is concerned, using every space possible to place ads. This includes several other whisky and alcohol brands, and from 2014 onwards, Huawei have also been a big sponsor of the team. Other sponsors include 7 UP, Uber and Ed Hardy, an eclectic mix to say the least.
Royal Challengers Bangalore have a big fanbase and know how to appeal to them. As well as celebrity band ambassadors who draw in more fans, their stadium also became the fist in the IPL to offer free Wi-Fi to all spectators, which was established following the installation of fibre optic cables.