From homegrown start-ups to lesser known brands, IPL sponsorship undergoes a shift

Dream 11, Unacademy, Equitas Small Finance Bank Limited, Performax, Ralco Tyres, Jai Raj Steel, Double Horse, FanCode Shop--IPL 2020 has a completely new support base

e4m by Ruhail Amin & Tasmayee Laha Roy
Updated: Sep 11, 2020 9:30 AM
IPL

The Indian Premier League (IPL) has become the quintessential money-making machine for the league owners as well as its other stakeholders. And rightly so. Afterall, it is the only platform that delivers what it promises--massive reach and lasting brand recall.

While IPL 2020 still holds that promise and identity, it is witnessing a massive shift in its sponsorship profile-- fewer legacy brands and rise of homegrown start-ups and lesser known brands. Dream 11, Unacademy, Equitas Small Finance Bank Limited, Performax, Ralco Tyres, Jai Raj Steel, Double Horse, FanCode Shop--IPL 2020 has a completely new support base.

Move From Legacy Brands

If we look at the sponsorship trends of the last 12 editions, IPL majorly attracts top brands and legacy players. A shift in this trend has become the most noticeable reality of this season.
This year, some legacy brands have kept their distance from IPL 2020. And this in turn has paved the way for new entrants to join the league. And they have done so in hordes, albeit at a discounted price.

According to sports marketing experts, for start-ups and many new brands, IPL 2020 is a dream come true as the price points are almost 50 per cent lower.
Sandeep Sreekumar, Managing Director, Media Moments, says IPL this year has seen about 10%-20% drop in brand interest when it comes to traditional team sponsorships, and this has happened across the board due to weak market sentiments.

“While some large brands have backed out, a lot of new brands have come in. IPL is also perfectly timed for these brands to package their communication which flows in from IPL to the festive season,” he added.

Final Equation

With seven more days to go and the inventory still open to sale, can we still see mainstream brands returning in the wake of discounted price points?

“The final upswing or downswing (if at all) in sponsorships will be difficult to tell until we actually come even closer to the event. Who are the gainers, we will all know soon,” explains Amit Kekre, National Strategy Head, DDB Mudra Group.

While some legacy brands might have played a cautious game this time owing to the market sentiment, there are some that have not wavered on their commitment.
According to Komal Mehra, Head, Sports Initiatives and Associations, Usha International, it’s important for brands to show commitment during tough times.
“We believe that real partnerships can stand the test of time and have chosen to stand by our commitment to this association even during these unprecedented times,” says Mehra.


With fewer legacy brands in its kitty, some experts feel that IPL 2020 has set a new precedent---heavy discounts and lower entry fee, which they fear may not be limited to this edition alone.

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