For companies wanting to create a brand for their business using cricket as a medium is worth incurring some losses. Over the years, the Indian premier League (IPL) has seen a decline of 40% in viewership. However, this hasn’t stopped brands from associating themselves with it, as seen in the enormous amount of interest received in the latest round of reverse auctions.
“There is no other property, sporting or otherwise, which has been doing well constantly for so many years and even the recent controversies surrounding the IPL will not cause much of a dent in brand imagery,” says a media planner adding, “We are a cricket-crazy nation, after all and such controversies have shorter shelf lives.”
A case in point: Multi Screen Media (MSM), owners of Sony SET MAX television sold almost 90% of the inventory one month before the tournament as against 70% even till 15 days before the event in 2014. Similarly, the number of sponsors (title and associate combined ) increased from 14 in 2014 to 20 this year. This can be attributed to the equity that the property commands as well as a surge of new players in the advertising market, they say.
Hence, cricket still rules the roost. No other sporting league in the country has been able to generate the buzz or attract the number of brands and ad rates as much as IPL. For instance, ad rates for Star’s Pro Kabaddi League (Season 2) for a 10 second spot during the tournament was between Rs 75,000 – Rs 80,000, while IPL (Season 8) commanded Rs 5-5.75 lakh for each 10 second spot.
Media planners say the strategy to lose Rs 25 crore for a year for the next two years alone, could be a individual company’s decision on what they intend to do.
“Investing in the tournament will depend on a company’s future plans. Is it the corporate image one wants to build or does the company want to announce that it is going national?,” says Hari Krishnan, managing director, ZenithOptimedia, a media buying agency. In a sense, associating with a temporary franchise, even if it is for a duration of two years, could help a smaller company project itself on a national scale.
According to data from Google, the IPL tournament is watched by 15-40 year-old men. “And with India being primarily a single TV household, women too end up watching it,” adds Krishnan. This gives an opportunity to a brand to sell itself to the entire family rather than target a certain target group on a particular channel.