Indian Premier League is one of the richest T20 competitions in the world with its huge prize money, massive stadium attendances and teams backed by large business houses and celebrities. IPL has also turned out to be one of the biggest marketing initiative the country has seen. Global and national brands are also looking at leveraging the popularity of the tournament to take their brand into consumers
They say in India nothing sells better than cricket. From the poor to the rich irrespective of rural or urban classification, the game is played across the country. In many ways, it doesn’t even allow other sports items to grow. Virtue or vice, it is the truth. But the fact is that cricket has made the country proud among other nations with its share of heroes. Even India’s women cricket team is on the spotlight after it lost to England by just 9 runs in 2017 World Cup final.
Back in 2008 India witnessed a change in the conventional cricket format. Indian Premier League, IPL was based on the franchise model of the National Football League and Major League Baseball in the US. The dynamic Twenty20 format attracted the young fanbase which also included women and children.
IPL also changed the way sports marketing and product placement in playgrounds in India. From 2008, every year the rights for audio-visual production services for IPL soared new heights. Not just the audio-visual production services but everything associated with IPL saw an increase in interest and profit. From Television ads to online streaming feed, everyone lurked at the possibility of advertising and branding. Even when the ad rates are high and still sold out entirely even before a ball is bowled shows the influence and interest it has got on advertisers. Boundary line ropes, billboards, stumps, jerseys... all filled with brands for they knew nothing sells better than cricket in India. For the audience, IPL was a sporting extravaganza filled with glitter, glamour and entertainment quotient in the correct ratio. Apart from the national brands, global brands also looked at the possibility to penetrate into the minds of Indian consumers and IPL was the best platform to do so.
In a short time, the become a mass sports property for major multinational brands. The commercial driven tournament has changed the dynamics of cricket in a massive way. The international appeal of IPL has made the tournament attract various global brands. More than 100+ brands advertise aggressively during the two-month long tournament.
Each time when Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announces expression of interest for IPL Official Partner Rights, IPL Strategic Time Out Partner Rights and IPL Umpire Partner Rights which will be available for a minimum three-year term, brands spend lucrative amount to grab the rights. BCCI intends (but shall not be obliged) to appoint up to a maximum of six Official Partners, one Strategic Timeout Partner and one Umpire Partner.
For advertisers, IPL is the best way to take their brand into the minds of cricket lovers and consumers. They will actively explore the opportunity toIPL also changed the way sports marketing and product placement in playgrounds in India
Apart from this through several innovative ways, they have endorsed brands during the play like “Citi moment of success,” “Karbonn Kamal catch,” “DLF maximum” and so. Product placement has become a normal norm of IPL tournament. You might have noticed the leading sponsors vehicle placed on a platform to grab eye rolls and cameras zooming into their vehicles once in a break of few minutes. There are also product placements especially vehicles (cars or two-wheelers) for ‘Man of the Match’ and ‘Man of the Series.’ Apart from getting a celebrity endorsement for the brand, it also helps to connect the audience with their brands.
If you have noticed the official website of IPL, you will find IPL named as VIVO Indian Premier League 2018. VIVO, the handset manufacturer being the Title Sponsor of IPL is featured along with the tournament name. While Star Sports is the Official Broadcaster, Hotstar is the official Streaming Partner. Paytm is the Umpire Partner while CEAT is the Official Strategic Timeout Partner.
The 11th edition of the world’s most popular and competitive T20 tournament will be played at nine venues across 51 days. Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Daredevils, Kings VI Punjab, Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians, Rajasthan Royals, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad are the eight teams competing in the tournament. The opening ceremony of IPL 2018 and the final will be played at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on April 7, 2018 and May 27, 2018respectively.
The business houses backing teams
All the eight teams competing in the tournament are backed by various industrial houses.
Chennai Super Kings which made its re-entry into the league after the ban is backed by prime sponsors The Muthoot Group and India Cements.
Delhi Daredevils on the other hand is owned by the GMR Group, a global infrastructure major.
Kings XI Punjab franchise is jointly owned by Bollywood actress Preity Zinta, Wadia Group scion Ness Wadia, Dabur’s Mohit Burman and APJ Surrendra Group’s Karan Paul.
Kolkata Knight Riders is owned by Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan, actress Juhi Chawla and her spouse Jay Mehta.
Mumbai Indians team is owned by India’s biggest conglomerate, Reliance Industries, through its 100% subsidiary IndiaWin Sports.
Rajasthan Royals which was also banned along with CSK is owned by Manoj Badale.
Royal Challengers Bangalore is owned by the Bangalore based United Spirits Limited.
SunRisers Hyderabad is owned by Kalanithi Maran of the Sun TV channel Network.
Even though there is a jump in brand value for business houses backing IPL teams, IPL is considered as a long-term investment and team owners seem to reap the benefits only in the longer run. It is believed that IPL will be profitable for team owners in five years. Though there are sponsors to back the teams, the profit, the team owners submitted before Registrar of Companies (RoC) show that the profits are not worth the expenses for most teams.
For most companies, revenues come by way of ticket sales, merchandise sales, in-stadia advertisement and team sponsorships. The majority of the revenue comes in the form of central rights — the share in the IPL revenue — that the BCCI pays to the teams. The costs for most companies include franchise fee to the board, fees to local cricket associations, wage costs and spend on advertising and promotion.
According to FY17 earnings with RoC and Tofler, Kolkata Knight Riders posted about a twofold jump in its profit to Rs.19.7 crore. Its revenue increased 23.7% to Rs.154.2 crore. Royal Challengers Bangalore during the year posted a profit of Rs.3.15 crore against a net loss of Rs.43.9 crore in FY16. RCB posted a 19.8% jump in revenue to Rs.162.1 crore during the year. RCB’s sponsorship revenue increased 38% in FY17 to Rs.39.6 crore.
Kings XI Punjab’s profit grew to Rs.6.6 crore in FY17. The total revenue is Rs.106.9 crore. Delhi Daredevils saw a widening of its losses to Rs.9 crore in FY17 from Rs.6.1 crore in FY16. Revenues too dropped to Rs.132.1VIVO, the handset manufacturer being the Title Sponsor of IPL is featured along with the tournament name
Commercial brandings during IPL
Many brands advertise heavily on IPL commercial breaks so as to reach a vast number of consumers especially the youngsters. Some of the prominent brands include Kent RO water purifiers, Vodafone, Parle Platina Collection, ITEL smartphones, Jio, Polycab wire and cable manufacturer, Dr Fixit by Pidilite, Vivo V9, Samsung Galaxy S9, Amazon. in, Haier, Airtel 4G, Voltas AC, FBB Big Bazaar, Smart Care Asian Paints, Bluestar Inverter AC, DHFL Home Loans, Tata Nexon, Star Plus, MRF, Mutual Funds, Tasty Treat, Paytm and Duraguard Cement.
“IPL has always lived up to its promise of being the most impactful media property and this year, there is the added attraction of the return of two popular teams. We are seeing good traction with our clients. STAR has developed a very strong marketing plan and created a lot of innovative opportunities for advertisers across their broadcast and digital platforms,” says C V L Srinivas, CEO of GroupM South Asia.
Last year, Sony Pictures Network India (SPN) had roped in nine brands on TV while Hotstar had close to 10 brands associating with the property on the digital platform. While SPN earned around Rs.13 billion from ad-sales in IPL 2017, industry estimates peg Hotstar’s ad-sales revenues in the Rs.1.8 to Rs.2 billion range last year. Experts say it is too early to say how much STAR India would make from this year’s telecast of the tournament. However, market estimates say STAR India will be looking at Rs.20 billion in ad-sales revenue.
For the first time, IPL 2018 proposes to connect with many Indians in their relevant language -six differentlanguages, Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Bengali. By leveraging the combined reach of digital and television the tournament will be broadcast, for the first time ever, on multiple TV channels and live streamed on Hotstar to reach out to 700 million fans across TV and digital in India.