The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced in September 2007 the establishment of the Indian Premier League, a Twenty20 competition to be started in 2008. In January 2008, the BCCI unveiled the owners of eight city-based franchises. The Mumbai franchise was sold to the Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) for $111.9 million, making it the most expensive team in the league. RIL, owned by Mukesh Ambani, acquired the rights to the franchise for a period of 10 years. The franchise was eventually named "Mumbai Indians".
The IPL named four players as icon players for their respective city franchises which makes the player unavailable to play for any team other than their city team. Sachin Tendulkar was named Mumbai's icon player. The icon player was also entitled to earn 15% more than the next-best paid player in their team. At the first player auctions for the inaugural IPL season conducted in February 2008, the Mumbai franchise bought several star international cricketers such as Sanath Jayasuriya, Harbhajan Singh, Shaun Pollock, Lasith Malinga and Robin Uthappa. The franchise named Tendulkar as the captain of the team and appointed former India cricketer Lalchand Rajput as the head coach. However, Tendulkar was injured before the start of the 2008 season due to which Harbhajan Singh took over as the captain in the initial stage of the season. The team got off to a bad start in the season losing their first four games by comprehensive margins. Their first match was a five-wicket defeat to the Royal Challengers Bangalore on 20 April 2008 at the Wankhede. Their stand-in captain, Harbhajan, was suspended from the tournament for reportedly slapping Sreesanth during Mumbai's league match against Kings XI Punjab. After Harbhajan's suspension, Shaun Pollock assumed the leadership duties until Tendulkar's return on May 24. Under Pollock's captaincy, Mumbai won six out of their next six games which left them needing to win two more out of the remaining four matches to qualify for the semifinals. Mumbai suffered three last-over defeats, including two off the last ball, before winning their last league match. They finished fifth in the points table with 7 wins and 7 losses, missing out on a semifinal spot by just one point.
At the 2010 players auction, Mumbai Indians bought Trinidadian all-rounder Kieron Pollard for $750,000 following a secret tie-breaker. After the auction, they signed up ten uncapped Indian players out whom seven were former ICL players. Former India cricketer Robin Singh was named as the head coach of the team as Pollock took up the role of bowling coach. Mumbai had to shift their home venue to Brabourne Stadium for the season since the Wankhede was undergoing renovation to host the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup. Mumbai won seven of their first eight games to take the top spot in the points table. Their success was mainly due to the efforts of Tendulkar, Malinga, Harbhajan, Ambati Rayudu and Saurabh Tiwary. They won three of the remaining six league games and finished with 20 points from 14 games at the top of the points table. They beat the Royal Challengers Bangalore by 35 runs in the semifinal thanks to Pollard's all-round efforts (33* from 13 balls, and 3/17). At the final, they were defeated by the Chennai Super Kings by 22 runs. The Mumbai team management was criticised for the "strategic errors" during the final such as sending Abhishek Nayar and Harbhajan at batting positions 3 and 4 respectively while Duminy and Pollard were sent at 7 and 8. Mumbai skipper Sachin Tendulkar, who scored 618 runs at an average of 47.53 and strike rate of 132.6, won the Orange Cap for scoring most runs in the season. Mumbai qualified for the 2010 Champions League Twenty20 where they were eliminated in the group stage with two wins and two defeats in four matches.
In 2011, with the addition of two new teams to the IPL, the IPL Governing Council declared that each franchise could retain a maximum of four players of their 2010 squad, and the rest of the international players would be auctioned. Mumbai Indians retained Tendulkar, Harbhajan, Pollard and Malinga for a sum of $4.5 million. This retention left the franchise with the power of spending $4.5 million at the auction where they purchased Indian batsman Rohit Sharma for $2 million, former Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds for $850,000, and pacer Munaf Patel for $700,000. Mumbai won eight of their first ten league games following which they suffered a loss of form that led to three consecutive defeats and a last-ball win in their last league match. They finished third on the points table with 18 points from 14 games and qualified for the Eliminator. The Eliminator was played at the Wankhede where Mumbai faced the Kolkata Knight Riders. After winning the toss and electing to bowl first, Mumbai restricted Kolkata to 147 in their 20 overs. Mumbai chased down the target with the loss of six wickets and four balls to spare. Munaf Patel won the Man of the Match for his bowling figures of 3/27. With this win, Mumbai qualified for the Qualifying final against Royal Challengers Bangalore, the winner of which will play the Super Kings in the final. Mumbai skipper Tendulkar won the toss once again and put their opposition into bat who set Mumbai a target of 186. Mumbai kept losing wickets at regular intervals from the start of their innings and could score only 142/8, falling short by 43 runs. The top two leading wicket-takers of the season were Mumbai Indians pacers Lasith Malinga and Munaf Patel with 28 and 22 wickets respectively.
The Mumbai Indians were the most watched team on television in the first season of the IPL, totaling to 239 million viewers. After posting a revenue of 69 crore and expenditure of 85 crore, the first season left the owners with net loss of INR 16 crore and were expected to break even in the 2009 season.
The Mumbai Franchise named the Team as Mumbai Indians as per the wish of Sachin, their Iconic Player and Owners Ambanis which are the Biggest Business House of India to represent their team as team for the People of India as Sachin is their God of Cricket and this team belongs to every Indian.
The motto of the team is "Duniya Hila Denge Hum", which translates to We will rock the world. The first anthem of Mumbai Indian was based on this motto, wherein the Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan was roped in for a promotional video campaign.
The team's primary color is blue with golden stripes on either sides of the jersey. The team colours was almost the same in 2008 and 2009, with Idea as the principal sponsor, except for the colour shade and additional sponsors. In 2010, a new kit with golden stripes was unveiled. In 2011, kit used in 2010 is being used with Hero Honda as the main sponsor. The 2011 jersey also has three gold stripes going towards the back on the side of the jersey for the new players in the team. The kit manufacturer is Adidas.
The current theme song of the Mumbai Indians is the famous Ala Re. However, after every boundary or a wicket by the team, a music titled "Akkha Mumbai Khelega" is always played by the stadium disc jockey.
In 2011, as two new teams were added to the IPL, the IPL Governing Council declared that each franchise could retain a maximum of four players of their squad, only three of whom can be Indian players, and the rest of the international players would be put in the mega-auction. The Mumbai franchise, keen to have the same set of core players, retained captain Sachin Tendulkar, Vice-Captain Harbhajan Singh, All-Rounder Kieron Pollard and Fast Bowler Lasith Malinga for a total of $4.5 million. The retention left them with the power of spending only $4.5 million at the mega-auction. At the auction, they purchased Rohit Sharma as one of the costliest player in the auction along with Munaf Patel, Andrew Symonds, Aiden Blizzard, a hard-hitting Australian batsman and James Franklin, an all rounder from New Zealand.
After the auctions, Mumbai Indians managed to get South African explosive opener Richard Levi, who shot into limelight after hitting the fastest century in T20 international cricket and hitting a record 13 sixes, after a bidding war with Pune Warriors India. Richard Levi was brought in as a replacement for Andrew Symonds, who retired from all forms of the game citing family reasons. Sachin Tendulkar stepped down as Mumbai Indians captain ahead of the IPL 2012 season-opener against Chennai.
At the 2012 IPL player auction, Former Australian Captain Ricky Ponting was purchased by Mumbai Indians for $400,000 and he became the new captain for sixth edition of IPL. Also at the auction, the Million Dollar BabyGlenn Maxwell was purchased by Mumbai Indians. Also Philip Hughes, Nathan Coulter - Nile, Jacob Oram was purchased by MI Management.
The Mumbai Indians play their home games at the Wankhede Stadium. However, in 2010, they played all seven home games at the Brabourne Stadium while the Wankhede Stadium underwent renovation for hosting a few group stage as well as the final match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. Mumbai Indians won six out of the seven matches at the Brabourne Stadium that season.
Mumbai Indians invited children of the NGOs to watch matches for Free
Mumbai Indians have supported the social cause of education to the underprivileged. Mumbai Indians have been raised funds for the cause via selling merchandise like wristbands signed by their Players. The NGOs supported are Pratham, Ummeed, Akanksha, Teach For India and Nanhi Kali.