Big spenders stay on the periphery for IPL-6 season

Written by Ashish Sinha | New Delhi | Updated: Feb 24 2013, 05:38am hrs
Approaching the sixth edition of the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) cautiously, big names are preferring to pitch in advertising money at the last moment for spot buying, rather than becoming full sponsors for IPL-6.

Many of these traditional on-air advertisers with the earlier seasons of IPL will now pick up 10 or 20-second spots once IPL-6 kicks off from April 3. These include big-wigs like Maruti, Hyundai, Airtel, Reliance Communications, ICICI, Nokia and Coca-Cola, among a host of advertisers who were once part of the on-air associate/main sponsor categories of IPL. We may take spots as the tournament progresses and the ratings come, said an executive of a Gurgaon-based media agency handling an auto client.

By confirming its participation as an on-air sponsor, apart from the events title sponsor (Pepsi IPL), PepsiCo India is looking to keep the rival cola brand out of the IPLs advertising brandwagon. However, Coca-Cola is expected to go in for spot-buying on IPL-6 once the tournament commences. Auto major Maruti plans to do the same.

But there are others who are willing to bet on IPL-6 despite declining ratings and public interest. So far, names of advertisers like Vodafone, Pepsi, Samsung, Tata DoComo and Havells are doing the rounds for having confirmed their association with the IPL broadcast on Sony Six, the new sports channel from the Sony TV India stable. The broadcaster is also actively in talks with telecom brands such as MicroMax and Karbonn mobiles, besides FMCG brands, said sources.

If media agencies are to be believed, two on-air presenting sponsors (R60-70 crore per sponsor) and five associate sponsors (R45-50 crore) have already inked deals with Sony Six for IPL-6, assuring around R400 crore worth of on-air sponsorship revenue. Also, the broadcasters have managed to sell the first and last 30-minute slots on its IPL show, Extra Innings, for another R100-150 crore.

The aim is to match the on-air revenue generated by IPL-4 and to exceed the targets of IPL-5, said a source in Sony India. For IPL-4, the best in terms of on-air revenues, the broadcaster clocked a little over Rs 1,000 crore.

However, for IPL-5 season, the figures reportedly came down to R750 crore or so. A rough calculation shows that an associate sponsor may pick up 120 spots (10 seconds each) per game. With 76 games in IPL, the broadcaster will earn around R40-50 crore. With 10 sponsors, the channel hopes to lock in R400-500 crore. As the series kicks off, there will be other kinds of on-air associations, partnerships and spot buys, like for sixes and fours, run-outs, breaks and highlights, among others.

But for teams, the struggle to find high-value advertisers continues. Auto major Hero MotoCorp has pulled out as the primary sponsor of Mumbai Indians, while Hyderabad SunRisers and Rajasthan Royals are yet to announce their advertising partners. Media buying agencies say the franchisees are looking for a 30-35% increase in sponsorship fees, but advertisers are not willing to match their expectations.