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The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was counting its chickens well before a single ball was bowled at the third season of the Indian Premier League (IPL), thanks to a scrum of brands rushing to cricket’s greatest spectacle.
Regardless of the T20 tournament’s ability to keep the crowd interest going, the world’s richest cricketing body is learnt to be richer by nearly Rs 750 crore, up 25% from last year, after sewing up a raft of deals. For instance, three-year deals with internet giant Google and general entertainment channel Colors inked in January are worth at least Rs 80 crore and Rs 100 crore, respectively, say people from the media and entertainment space.
IPL also bagged sponsorship deals with Swiss watch brand Banderlier, Karbonn Mobiles, Indiagames, Maxx Mobile, V Rock Mobile and Global Cricket Ventures for merchandising, which collectively are worth at least Rs 125 crore a year. Tyre company MRF too joined the IPL brandwagon by sponsoring the blimp, a balloon that floats over the stadium, in a deal said to be worth Rs 15 crore a year. Brand clutter could play spoilsport
“OUR estimate is that IPL-3 will witness a 25-30% growth in revenues,” said Basabdatta Chaudhury, CEO, Madison Media, adding that new deals like the theatrical rights sold for Rs 330 crore for 10 years also helped boost IPL revenues this year, besides the many sponsorship deals.
Currently, the broadcasting rights and central sponsorship earnings are shared with the eight teams, with IPL keeping 20% of the broadcasting money and 40% of the central sponsorship pool. Multi Screen Media, the owner of SET Max, along with World Sports Group paid around Rs 8,200 crore for exclusive broadcasting rights for nine years after the deal was renegotiated during the last season.
But the IPL governing council is hazy on sharing with franchise owners the Rs 330 crore from theatrical rights sold to Entertainment Sports Direct for 10 years. There is also no clarity on whether the spoils from the Google deal to broadcast IPL matches live on YouTube and the Colors deal to air shows based on the cricket format would be shared with team owners.
Existing sponsors such as Hero Honda, Vodafone, Citibank and Kingfisher, meanwhile, are believed to have increased their spending by nearly 20%. Vodafone, which paid around Rs 30 crore last year, is spending nearly Rs 35 crore in IPL-3, said people from the media buying segment. Hero Honda, Citi and Kingfisher had spent around Rs 20 crore in the last two seasons.
Despite the upbeat mood of advertisers, sceptics fear a brand clutter could play spoilsport. “IPL should be careful not to kill the golden goose,” says Indranil Das Blah, vice-president, KWAN Entertainment and Marketing Solutions.
“Deals with brands from the same category such as the ones with Maxx Mobile and Karbonn Mobile do lead to an overkill.”
Still, there is not a shadow of doubt about IPL’s Midas touch among BCCI mandarins. The addition of two new teams will keep the cash registers ringing as potential buyers are expected to shell out at least $250 million, five times the base price of IPL-1.