Although the team has gained immense popularity due to its association with celebrity owners, it was surrounded with controversy and poor on-field performance through the first three years of the tournament. The team's performance, however, improved from the fourth season as it qualified for the IPL playoffs and made it to the Champions League Twenty20. They eventually became the IPL champions for the first time in 2012, by defeating Chennai Super Kings in the final and repeated the feat in 2014, defeating Kings XI Punjab. The Knight Riders hold the record for the longest winning streak by any Indian team in T20s (14).
The leading run-scorer of the side is Gautam Gambhir, while the leading wicket-taker is Sunil Narine. The official theme of the team is Korbo, Lorbo, Jeetbo Re (We will do, we will fight, we will win) and the official colors are purple and gold. The brand value of the Knight Riders was estimated at $86 million in 2015, the highest valuation amongst all eight teams by a margin.
Initially, when Kolkata Knight Riders were first introduced in 2008, the logo of the team consisted of a blazing golden Viking helmet against a black background with the name of the team Kolkata Knight Riders written in gold next to it. However, the black background was changed to purple in the third season. In 2012, a new logo, which consist of a blazing purple Corinthian helmet trimmed with gold, with Kolkata Knight Rider written within a shield has been introduced. The name Knight Riders has been chosen keeping in view the kids and the youth.
The tag line of the team was "All the King's Men" during the first four season. However, in the fifth it was replaced by "New Dawn, New Knights". The team's official colours were black and gold during the first two seasons. Khan explained that "golden symbolizes spirit of life and black presents the Goddess Kali." It was later changed to purple and gold during the third season and was kept so. The jersey was created by Bollywood fashion designer Manish Malhotra.
The main theme of the team Korbo, Lorbo, Jitbo Re (We will do it, Fight for it, Win it) has been created by Vishal-Shekhar duo. A Knight Rider album with several singers and music composers including Usha Uthup and Bappi Lahiri was also created. In 2009, A music video for one of the songs from the album, called "Too Hot, Too cool" directed by Farah Khan and featuring Khan and some of the members of the team was filmed in helipad area in Film City, Mumbai. The theme of the video centred around the African wild life as the IPL 2's venue had been shifted to South Africa at the time.
The home venue of the Knight Riders is the iconic Eden Gardens (with the two ends of the crease called the High Court End and the Pavilion End). Owned by the Cricket Association of Bengal, it is the largest cricket stadium in India and had a seating capacity of over 90,000. In 2011, the stadium was renovated to meet the standards set by the ICC for the 2011 Cricket World Cup; reducing its capacity to around 68,000. The renovated stadium includes a new clubhouse and players' facilities, upgrading the exterior wall, cladding the existing roof structure with a new metal skin, and general infrastructure improvements. In 2013, two of the team's home matches were hosted by the JSCA International Cricket Stadium in Ranchi.
In the 2012 auction, KKR bought back their former batsman, Brendon McCullum. They also acquired West Indian spinner Sunil Narine and South African fast bowler Marchant de Lange. The team later added four domestic players to their squad, including Debabrata Das and Iresh Saxena from Bengal, Saurashtra's Chirag Jani and Sanju Samson from Kerala.
In November 2012, KKR released four players from their team : Iresh Saxena, Chirag Jani, Sanju Samson and Jaydev Unadkat. In the 2013 auction, the team bought two overseas players, Sachithra Senanayake and Ryan McLaren.