The ninth season of India’s biggest sporting event, Indian Premiere League, started amidst a plethora of controversy and scandals. While alleged charges of corruption against previous champions Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals got them suspended for two years, Bombay High Court ordered 13 IPL matches to be shifted out of the drought-hit Maharashtra. Even the title sponsors ‘Pepsi’ backed out from the throng of controversies.
Though the picture remains murky in that sphere, according to a study by Onspon.com, a sponsorship marketplace, there has been significant sponsorship deals at this year’s IPL on the contrary. They are of the opinion that IPL 2016 is seeing a massive positive upswing from sponsors and audience alike, and the brands are looking at the IPL as an effective launch platform for their brand and leveraging the IPL buzz
The new title sponsor ‘Vivo’, which is a Chinese smartphone manufacturer, has bagged the rights for the next two seasons and is betting big on leveraging IPL as a platform to connect with its young audience. Vivo Mobiles is estimated to spend another INR 200 Crores, on amplifying this association with the IPL.
The analysis also revealed that three prominent smartphone manufacturers entering (or re-structuring their entry) in India, Oppo, Vivo, and LeEco, have allocated a significant budget to cricket and in particular IPL. They are seeking to leverage IPL to create awareness about their brand and reach out to the young audiences.
Although after the dismal performance of the Indian cricket team in the recently concluded World Cup T20 might have exhausted the IPL audience mentally, companies like FreeCharge & Maruti Suzuki confirming their associate sponsorship at a central league level just weeks before the season shows, that brands are not weary of the IPL.
Where team sponsorship slots last year were available till about 2 to 3 days before the IPL, this year saw it getting closed much faster. The 2 new IPL teams – Pune Super Giants and Gujarat Lions have also managed to clinch lucrative sponsorship deals.
Faraaz Peerbhai, who leads brand partnerships at Onspon.com, says “The low event density in the non-sport space – with few high voltage movie releases or any other major music events, has made sponsorship routing to IPL more effective.”
These team level sponsorship rights range from INR 1 Crore to INR 20 Crores – dependent on the logo spot on the Jersey and other rights such as player imagery, merchandise options, etc.
Many sponsors have in-fact also continued their association with respective teams. Commercials for team Level sponsorship rights were expected to take a dip due to the betting fiasco surrounding IPL. However, teams have been in a position to bag sponsors at commercials similar to those of last years. Each of these teams has managed to rope in about 10 sponsors each
With Pune’s star-studded line-up that includes M.S Dhoni, Faf Duplessis, Ajinkya Rahane, Kevin Pietersen, etc. – the franchise has managed to bag sponsor’s within the INR 2 Crore to INR 16 Crore range. The Gujarat franchise, owned by smartphone manufacturer Intex, has also bagged sponsorships ranging from INR 1.5 Crore to INR 15 Crores.
According to OnSpon.com, the reason for this increased sponsorship interests could be attributed to the pre-event cricket warm-up from the multiple cricket series leading to IPL, making the brand continuity easier and efficient.
“The advent of early summers have also lead to buoyancy in consumption categories such as FMCG, Air-conditioners – thereby leading to pre-allocation of marketing budgets, especially for categories such as drinks, consumer durables, etc,” added Peerbhai.
Many FMCG brands such as Haldiram’s, Britannia, Mother Dairy – Deodorant brands such as
Sparkle, Kama Sutra have partnered with various IPL teams. Air-conditioner brands such as Daikin, Lloyd & Sansui have also partnered with teams such as Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkata respectively.