The on-ground associations are feeling the heat of the IPL turnaround this year. On the other hand, marketers feel that the development is not very intense, however, the difference is in the chaos that is usually visible six weeks before the start of the tournament every year. This year, the same chaos is visible only four weeks prior to the tournament as many crucial decisions were taken because of the Court judgement. The desperation, therefore, is obvious.
Last year, a franchise closed its associate sponsorship just a week before the start of the tournament. The sponsorship, which was pitched at close to Rs 14 crore was finally closed between Rs 3 crore and Rs 4 crore. Marketers feel that in case of on-ground sponsorship, the year 2014 is witnessing more desperation. So, when a price of Rs 14 crore can go down to Rs 3 crore, this year is slightly different.
Some IPL franchises till now have not been able to bring major sponsors on board. As per sources, Delhi Daredevils and Kings XI Punjab are facing more rough patches as compared to other franchises. Both have not been able to bring any significant success on board.
When contacted, Rajiv Bose, Head - Sales and Marketing, Kings XI Punjab said, “We have a very robust team this year, which is the strongest so far. The values of all our properties need to increase. We are optimistic that before the tournament commences, we will be able to announce the list of our entire sponsors for this year.” The cost of normal association to title sponsorship for Kings XI this year is ranging between Rs 1 crore and Rs 18 crore.
When contacted, Delhi Daredevils officials refused to comment on the issue.
An official from another franchise mentioned, “Brands are more cautious this year as spend is fragmented between the elections and IPL.”
However, another angle that has emerged is that of the timing. Advertisers, who have been on board with major franchises, speaking on condition of anonymity cited the current phase to be slightly critical and felt that only the franchises that are not able to close deals as soon as possible will feel more pressured as the tournament starts from April 16, 2014.
In addition to this, some parameters such as visibility of the brand on the jersey and positioning of the logo have also raised questions about the RoI of on-ground sponsorships. Some sponsors who were earlier part of heavy on-ground sponsorships have this year confined spends on IPL as ad spots on air in certain crucial matches only. Certain advertisers, who have long term contracts with some franchises or are currently part of a franchise, have also been approached by other franchises.
BCCI will subsidise part of the franchise expenses in the UAE and Sharjah this year. The shift in venue due to general elections has caused a dent in the on-ground sponsorships (which includes team jersey) this year. However, post the Supreme Court clarity, the cloud of uncertainty has lifted. Negotiation stage is currently on, and as sources indicate, some franchises are struggling hard this year. As the goal of IPL, according to some marketers, is only to garner eyeballs and with the credibility of Indian cricket being questioned, many of them right now are not investing for the long run.
The next hearing on the matter is on April 16, the day the tournament begins.