The third edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) came to a close on April 25, 2010 with the Chennai Super Kings emerging champions, and given the interest generated by the tournament, it can be safely said that the homecoming season paid off eventually.
This year, strategy breaks too have been reduced from 15 minutes last year to 10 minutes. Besides this, 5-second ad breaks, too, have been introduced and the ads were being aired on the third umpire screen.
The biggest highlight this year, even in terms of innovation, is the bidding of two new teams for IPL season four - Pune and Kochi – which together fetched IPL over Rs 3,000 crore.
Meanwhile, viewership for IPL3 is said to have delivered as per expectations, which is higher than season two, but lower than the inaugural season. The matches being so close and unpredictable reportedly added to viewer enthusiasm. While the viewership this year did not surpass that of season one, it certainly managed to come close to season one ratings. What remains to be seen once the overall television ratings are out is whether the viewership remains at par with season one ratings or marginally surpasses them.
Like the previous years, this year, too, IPL has not remained buffered from controversies. In fact, this year the controversies have only become murkier and opened a can of worms that resulted in the resignation of Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor, IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi’s job on the stake and a series of income tax raids carried out at the offices of various IPL franchise owners. As if these were not enough, Gaurav Garg, President, Strategic Consulting, Propaganda Media & Marketing, now plans to file interim injunction of broadcast for IPL Awards in the Bombay High Court for not getting his due credit in developing the IPL Awards.
Amid so much happening exchange4media finds out from media planners whether IPL3 delivered as per their expectations and how much the recent controversies had affected brand IPL, as well as the challenges before IPL season four.
According to Venkata Subramanian, VP, Lintas Media Group, “Overall, I believe IPL3 did well and as per expectations. IPL3 delivered much more than IPL2, but the season three ratings have not managed to surpass season one ratings as the inaugural season continues to remain a benchmark. IPL has reached a certain level now, the concept is ready it just needs someone to manage the concept. When more money comes in any tournament, controversies happen, but the brand name will not suffer.”
He further said, “However, season four will be difficult and challenging because of more matches and more days. IPL will have to come up with more innovative ways of handling the tournament. With the World Cup also happening next year, they will have to do something different to retain viewership and build the enthusiasm around the game.”
Narendra Kumar Alambara, General Manager & Office Head, Starcom Worldwide, Chennai, observed, “To me, IPL3 was a success as the previous ones and in some ways even better. IPL provides more opportunities for brands to advertise in an established format, this year, even viewers’ expectations were taken care off. There were lots of defining moments this year, especially off field than on field, these, I believe, have taken away the sheen of IPL.”
“Next year, there will be more teams and more matches and more days of matches. It may lead to too much of a good time. There is a sense of fatigue that will come in. The challenge now is how to keep the tournament fresh and innovative. This will be the biggest challenge for IPL next year,” he pointed out.
Two schools of thought have emerged regarding the ongoing controversies around IPL – one that believes that brand IPL will not suffer, while the other believes that these controversies have taken the sheen out of IPL. With more teams, more money, and more matches next year, media planners believe that IPL season four will now have to come up with something innovative and fresh as IPL viewership has now reached fatigue point.