Indrani Sen: A Review of Vivo IPL 2021 Phase II

04 Oct,2021

Indrani SenBy Indrani Sen


Star and Disney India has really played their hands very well and have managed to retain most of the sponsors and advertisers who onboarded the event initially for Phase II of the tournament currently being played in the UAE.  When the tournament got indefinitely suspended in May 2021 due to onslaught of the pandemic among the players and supporting members, the broadcaster reacted very quickly in a customer-friendly manner.


Star and Disney India, who had sold almost the entire inventory in advance, assured all advertisers that the first right to continue with the sponsorship or advertising  deals at the negotiated rate would be given to all committed customers as and when the second phase of the tournament takes place. The broadcaster also indicated that no penalty would be charged to the advertisers who might want to withdraw from their earlier commitments due to their marketing requirements not matching with the revised schedule of the tournament.


When BCCI declared that the second phase of IPL 2021 would be played in the UAE from mid- September, a majority of the original advertisers chose to honour their earlier commitments. Star and Disney India announced in the first week of September that 95% of the advertising inventory of Phase II were already sold with most of the original sponsors, i.e. Dream 11, Phone Pe, Coca Cola, Byju’s, AMFI, Amazon, Asian Paints, Cred, ITC Foods, Kamala Pasand, Mondelez and Upstox staying with the tournament.


A few sponsors like Vodafone-Idea, Frooti, Garnier etc. have withdrawn from their sponsorship contracts. Against that scenario, new sponsorship deals have been struck with Jio, L’Oréal and Ajio, etc. for the remaining matches. It appears that the broadcaster will close the season with a record revenue collection exceeding their earlier expectation of Rs. 3,200 crore. With the qualifier and the final matches enjoying higher spot advertising rates, the second phase of IPL is expected to earn higher revenue than that of the first phase.


As per the available BARC data, the Star India Network is cruising comfortably to breach the 400 million viewers’ mark on TV for successive fourth year. Till Match #35, the cumulative reach of the tournament has generated 380 million viewers. The trend is better than the past three years and the aggregated number of cumulative viewers at this stage are higher than what it was in the last three IPL series. The fan following of the tournament has been growing year on year which is reflected in the viewership data for the first 26 matches of 2021 showing that higher cumulative reach of the tournament than that of last year. As per BARC data, the reach of the first 26 matches in IPL 2021 was 352 million, against 349 million for IPL 2020.

The strategy of regionalisation, whereby the tournament gets telecast in eight different languages for reaching out to viewers across different states has really helped the broadcaster to grow the viewership of the tournament. Introduction of additional customised match-feeds have started catering to specific consumer segments. The customer segmentation strategy has been further enforced with a light-hearted take of the matches presented by stand-up comedians and guest commentators on Disney + Hotstar.  Side by side introduction of other programmes like Byju’s Cricket Live, Cricket Countdown and Game Plan have ensured a total coverage of the tournament.


To sum up, it can be said that Star and Disney India have broken new grounds in television programming while promoting the property of IPL across our multi-lingual country which will be taught as an unique media marketing case history in academic textbooks for next few years.


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