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Chennai Super Kings to focus more on merchandising and sponsorships

03-March-2009
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Chennai Super Kings to focus more on merchandising and sponsorships

After defeat in the finals last year, Chennai Super Kings, owned by India Cements, is all set to take on its rivals and de-throne the defending champions – Rajasthan Royals – in Season 2 of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Compared to the first season, this year the IPL teams have a lot more time to prepare themselves for the big matches. While Season 1 saw Chennai Super Kings become a huge brand, in Season 2, the franchisee will be focusing heavily on further strengthening the brand. The franchisee is also hoping to gain revenues through merchandising deals as well as sponsorships, which is expected to be more than last year.

As part of the merchandising initiative, Chennai Super Kings have once again teamed up with their licensees, Reebok and Peter England, for sportswear and formal apparel, respectively. Furthermore, the team has roped in new merchandising partners, including Future Group, which would be creating a range of products from toys to casual wear. NOWPOW, a Hyderabad-based mobile VAS (value-added-service) company, will create its logo, wallpaper and so on.

Aircel continues to be the team’s principle sponsor. Chennai Super Kings has tied up with PepsiCo as its beverage partner and has also got Wrigleys on board. The IPL franchisee has also partnered with Star Vijay for two reality shows/talent hunt shows – Chennai Super Kings Juniors (CSK Juniors) and Chennai Super Kings Cheerleaders (CSK Cheerleaders).

Unlike last year, this time the focus is more on on-ground promotions, merchandise tie-ups, in-stadium promotions, hospitality tie-ups and involving their fan base in a big way, which is scheduled to be announced shortly. The MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings is among the few IPL franchisees to break even last year and is now running into profits.

On the slowdown effects on Chennai Super Kings, Rakesh Singh, Head - Marketing, India Cements Ltd, said, “Lalit Modi is on record saying that IPL is ‘recession-proof’ and, therefore, I am sure IPL will be successful in getting substantial revenues as most of the advertisers are aware that IPL has a very high viewership. Also, for most of the companies, the financial year begins from March and advertisers are conscious of the kind of platform that IPL provides. Therefore, they are ready to invest in the brand. Our sponsor interest is at an all time high, we certainly have more engagements with potential sponsors this year than what we had last year.”

Speaking on revenue targets, Singh said, “It is too early to say right now, primarily because it is an ongoing phenomenon. We receive expressions of intent from possible sponsors throughout the season.”

The creative agency for Chennai Super Kings is Salt Creatives, which is the same as last year, while the events are being taken care of by Showspace and PR is handled by Brand Wave Communications.

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