Multi Screen Media (MSM), the official broadcaster of the Indian Premier League (IPL), has managed to sell 50% of the ad inventory around the hugely popular T20 cricket property. The tournament will begin on April 16 and will be aired on channels Sony Six and Set Max. While the first 20 matches will be played out in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the second leg of matches — 36 matches and four playoffs — will happen in India.
According to an executive at Multi Screen Media, Vodafone, Havells, Amazon have already come in as sponsors while Flipkart has come in as a spot buyer. Cadburys is close to signing the contract, he said. “PepsiCo is still negotiating with the BCCI and therefore hasn’t come on board as a television sponsor. Once they reach an understanding with the BCCI, they will,” he added.
The same executive said that the co-presenting sponsor Vodafone has paid R55 crore, while associate sponsors such as Amazon have come in for R25 crore.
Some of the bigger FMCG companies like Hindustan Unilever and Procter & Gamble continue to stay out of the tournament this year as well because of the high costs involved, he said.
In an emailed response, a PepsiCo India spokesperson said, “We expect the tournament to help build awareness and imagery (for Pepsi brands) by delivering a strong visibility multiplier in peak beverage summer months.” The statement further said: “The IPL has given us good derived media value on broadcast, which we expect to grow in 2014. In addition, we are working closely with the BCCI team and will rely on them to devote more resources to actively support us to not only manage the complexity of activation across two countries but also to increase fan engagement with the best locations for visibility and other engagement assets.”
The broadcaster Set Max pegged the ad rates between R4.75 lakh and R5 lakh for 10 seconds but advertisers are negotiating deals at discounts. “This year MSM is having difficulty selling the ad inventory and the actual rate is around R3.8 lakh to R4.3 lakh for 10 seconds,” said the chief executive of a prominent media buying firm.
Rohit Gupta, president at MSM that runs Set Max, said that the past few days were difficult but now, life is back to normal. “There was a lot of uncertainty on the IPL. But since the Supreme Court’s ruling that players and teams will not been impacted, it’s business as usual. We will announce our key sponsors in the next week as we are still in the process of closing ad deals. Most of our deals had already culminated as far as negotiations go, but the contracts have yet to be signed.”
Gupta said that ad rates have not been impacted this season, despite a constricted advertising market. “Advertising inventory is still going at R4.75-5 lakh for 10 seconds, up 15% over the previous year. Viewership has also been up for the IPL matches. Last year, 215 million viewers came in for the IPL, up from 164 million,” he said.
Raghu Iyer, chief executive of the Rajasthan Royals, said that some of their sponsors this year are TCS, Garnier, Kingfisher, Deakin University, Supertech and KOOH Sports. There are some others that they are looking to close in a few days, he said.
Chandrabhan Singh, general manager at India Cements’ Chennai Superkings, said that most of that most of their sponsors remain the same as last year, including Aircel, Gulf Oil, VGN (real estate) and Pepsi. “There are a few sponsors that are being replaced with newer partners as contract duration expired. As for marketing and communication activities planned by sponsors, they will make announcements at the appropriate time,” he said, adding that the new sponsors include Orbit Cables as partner, UST global as technology partner on the playing kit and Orient Fans. Amity Business School is another associate sponsors being added, he said.
Mallikarjunadas CR, chief executive at Starcom MediaVest Group, said overall economic sentiment has also dented IPL ad rates. “Advertisers don’t have the kind of liquidity they had in the previous seasons. Even FMCG as a sector has slowed. Telecom remains guarded in terms of advertising spends and auto is yet to pick up,” he said.