Much has been written about the controversies that surrounded the current IPL season. With the betting scandal leading to two teams--Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals getting banned. Even Pepsi, the league’s title sponsor, also backed out and much ambiguity was surrounding the IPL early this year.
However, with two new teams coming-in and a positive outlook towards cricket, owing to India’s performance at the T20 World Cup, sentiments around IPL Season 9 are on the positive side.
Additionally, Vivo, the Chinese smartphone manufacturer has bagged the title sponsorship rights for the next two seasons of IPL and is betting big on leveraging IPL as a platform to connect with its young audiences. Apart from the outlay of bagging the title sponsorship for IPL, Vivo is estimated to spend another Rs 200 crore on amplifying this association with the IPL.
At a central league level, associate sponsors such as FreeCharge & Maruti Suzuki confirmed their associations with the league just weeks prior to the IPL season, showing that brands are not weary of the IPL. These central level sponsorships are estimated to be in the commercial range of Rs 10 crore and above.
At a team level too, there is an increased interest from brands, where team sponsorships are getting closed faster. Whereas compared to last year half the slots were available till about 2 to 3 days prior to the IPL.
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.
These team level sponsorship rights range from Rs 1 crore to Rs 20 crore, dependent on the logo spot on the jersey and other rights such as player imagery, merchandise options etc.
A number of sponsors have also continued their association with respective teams.
The two new IPL teams--Pune Super Giants and Gujarat Lions, have also been successful in clinching lucrative sponsorship deals. Each of these teams have managed to rope in about 10 sponsors each.
With the Pune franchise boasting of a star studded line-up, including the likes of M.S Dhoni, Faf du Plessis, Ajinkya Rahane, Kevin Pietersen etc – the Pune franchise have emerged as strong IPL title contenders and have managed to bag sponsor’s within the Rs 2 crore to Rs 16 crore range.
The Gujarat franchise, owned by smartphone manufacturer Intex has also bagged a number of high value sponsorships ranging from Rs 1.5 to Rs 15 crore.
A recent study by Onspon.com reveals the reason for the increased sponsorship interests from brands in this season of IPL. According to the report, the trend can be attributed to the pre-event cricket warm-up from the multiple cricket series leading to IPL, making the brand continuity easier and effective.
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, is making sponsorship routing to IPL more effective. The advent of early summer this year has also increased consumption in categories such as FMCG and Air-conditioners – thereby leading to pre-allocation of marketing budgets, especially for categories such as drinks, consumer durables etc”.
A number of 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. The smartphone category has also taken to IPL Season 9 in a big way. Three big smartphone manufacturers, Oppo, Vivo and LeEco, have allocated a significant budget to cricket and in particular to IPL. They are seeking to leverage IPL to create awareness about their brand and reach out to the young audiences.
Overall, after the pre-IPL ambiguity, IPL Season 9 is witnessing a massive positive upswing from sponsors and audience alike.
Onspon.com is of the opinion that brands are also looking at the IPL as an effective launch platform for their brand and leveraging the IPL buzz to communicate their brand message to the younger cricket loving audience.