IPL 7: Living on a prayer, and a little luck

16 Apr,2014

By Johnson Napier

 

Blame it on the late player auctions that were held early this year or the match-fixing allegations that keeps cropping up intermittently or the fact that the General Elections may have taken the hype away from the greatest sporting spectacle coming out of India every year – the IPL. While IPL 6 was already making waves this time last year, the scenario is a little different in Twenty Fourteen with most team-owners still making last ditch attempts in getting their act together including enticing advertisers into partnering them afresh.

 

But whatever the challenges being presented, the tournament does promise to provide its dose of entertainment this year as well. To begin with, there would be only 60 matches being played this year with the tournament being staged in two phases including one in the UAE from April 16 to May 1 and the India leg that will be staged from May 2nd onwards. In fact broadcaster Multi Screen Media (MSM) is already making its presence felt and has managed to get a decent number of brands to endorse the event this year as well – the same number as IPL 6.

 

MSM has inked deals with nine presenting and associate sponsors for the seventh season of IPL. The presenting sponsors include Vodafone and Karbonn Mobile who are estimated to have spent approximate Rs 50 crore while the associate sponsors comprise Amazon India, Havells, Perfetti, Marico and TVS all of whom fall under the Rs 25-30 crore cost bracket.

 

While MSM does seem to have made sufficient inroads with brands, what will eventually decide the success of the tournament is the average viewership ratings that it will throw at the end of the tournament. According to data shared last year, IPL managed to generate an average cumulative TVR of 3.1 in HSM markets and a rating of 3 in C&S 4+ all India. This was much lower than the 3.45 HSM average TVR it reported in 2012.

 

Ashish Bhasin

Anita Nayyar

Sharing his opinion on whether the tournament will live up to its hype or not, Ashish Bhasin, Chairman & CEO South Asia, Dentsu Aegis Network and Chairman Posterscope & psLive Asia Pacific, said: “I think the seventh season of the IPL will build up as the tournament progresses and be near normal towards the final stages. But it will have a slow start, compared to past years,” he affirmed.

 

Putting forth her views, Anita Nayyar, CEO- India & South Asia, Havas Media Group said, “IPL has always been an interesting event irrespective of the reasons. Across seasons it has delivered well whether in India or South Africa. Especially the last leg towards the finals has always been an advertiser’s delight with ratings upwards of 10.”

 

On what the current season will hold for the tournament, Ms Nayyar said, “The seventh season is generating a lot of interest inspite of the shift between UAE and India amongst advertisers who do view IPL as a mass reach medium. Moreover, while it is election time the interest in IPL still stands. This is further vindicated by an analysis of viewership of various genres during elections, which indicates that it does not have any major impact on sports (cricket) or GECs, however the Hindi news genre gains share. Given the situation, IPL holds its own and should continue to deliver viewership and hence interest and acceptability from advertisers.”

 

Perhaps the right indicator of how viewership could be bought back to the sport could be assessed from what Vinit Karnik, National Director, Sports & Live Events, GroupM ESP had to state in the SportzPower-GroupM joint report on the Sports Sponsorship report. Karnik had stated thus: “Even though the IPL is off to a rough start this year, in the long run accountability, better corporate governance, more transparency, are all good for not just the IPL, but the BCCI too.”

 

Another factor that will decide whether the tournament receives a positive response this year is the buzz that it will create from the online medium. This year, starsports.com has licensed the digital distribution rights for IPL 2014 from Times Internet. Starsports.com thus will be streaming video on demand on its portal and would not be played on Youtube like last year. With an aim to attract 20 million more users onto the digital platform, starsports.com will be looking at bettering the 2013 viewership numbers that were reported to be in the region of 200 million video views.

 

Thus, with the countdown to the greatest cricket spectacle only a few hours away, one can look forward to an average outing from the team and brands at the IPL this year. One only hopes that the match-fixing allegations do not make their presence felt yet again or the organisers will have to face additional bottlenecks next year as well. And possibly no ‘bulawa’ as well.

 

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