Shailesh Kapoor: The Many Roles Of IPL

05 Apr,2013

By Shailesh Kapoor


“Love it. Hate it. But you cannot ignore it.” This much-used adage seems tailor-made for the Indian Premier League (IPL). In its sixth year now, the IPL has managed to court success, controversy and cynicism in equal measure. But what it has always managed is to stay top-of-the-mind. There is no such thing as ‘low buzz’ with IPL, even when the stadia attendance and viewership is low, as was the case in 2011.


Here’s my list of five things that IPL is and shall always remain:


1. The blame absorber: India’s poor performance in international cricket has a new alibi. Batting collapses, in particular, are easy to explain using the IPL, which supposedly gives players a sense of false confidence that they are good enough to play against world-class bowlers in any conditions. Any series loss and the ‘IPL is against Indian cricket’ debate is reopened. This year’s IPL is thankfully free of this responsibility, given the recent success against Australia.


2. An advertiser’s delight:There has been much talk about the declining IPL ratings over the last three years. Yet, IPL remains a 3+ TVR property. No international cricket series, except select India ODIs like those in the World Cup, average at this level. GEC programs too are increasingly battling fragmentation, and a 3-TVR show is a rare occurrence outside Star Plus today. In recall terms too, brands like Pepsi and Vodafone have crossed upward of 50% spontaneous recall in previous seasons of IPL (Source: Ormax Trac20). GEC brand recall, even for big-ticket reality shows, rarely crosses 25%.


So, IPL offers viewership and more. It offers the opportunity to brand properties, like the stadia & the field, jerseys, tickets, etc. In effect, IPL is the best source of non-intrusive product placements on television in India today. Even more importantly, IPL is the only media property around which brands are weaving their annual marketing plans. Campaigns are being created and executed with IPL (or T20) at their core. This is perhaps the most underestimate achievement of the league.


3. Social media’s favourite dissing subject: Every year, Twitter goes alive with IPL dissing. It’s cool to make fun of IPL. There’s an element of commercialization that works as perfect bait. Of late, this dissing has gotten repetitive. But IPL jokes are, and shall always remain, popular on social media.


4. The retirement plan cricketers never had:It may be a stepping-stone for young cricketers, but IPL is also a retirement plan for cricketing greats like Adam Gilchrist, Rahul Dravid and Ricky Ponting. “Retiring from all forms of cricket” today means “retiring from all forms of cricket excluding IPL”.


5. The primetime disrupter: Understanding the impact of IPL on viewing behaviour at primetime is no easy task. It requires being there with the families so see them juggle between their favorite serials and the cricket. IPL is disruptive primetime programming at its best, though disruption too finds a pattern for itself over time!

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One response to “Shailesh Kapoor: The Many Roles Of IPL”

  1. Nit says:

    please come up with something iike this for Salman Khan. His success is mind boggling… why the hell do people like Salman… please analyse.