We've been able to significantly increase our revenues this year: Rajasthan Royals CEO

Jake Lush McCrum talks to e4m about the franchise’s digital ad deals and how brands that partner with the franchise know that they're getting more than just a jersey position

e4m by Sonam Saini
Published: Apr 6, 2022 8:55 AM  | 7 min read
Royals

The “number of sponsors” is not the right way to look at sponsorships in the IPL or any other sport, says Rajasthan Royals CEO Jake Lush McCrum. He spoke to exchange4media about the franchise surpassing the 2021 revenue mark, despite the count of sponsors being similar to last year.  

While Happilo is the title sponsor, Rajasthan Royals has also on-boarded 12-13 other sponsors this year, including BKT, Jio, Dollar, Studds, Meesho, One Moto, Goel Time, Dream11, Kotak, Fino, McDowell's, and Barbados.

McCrum believes Rajasthan Royals focuses on the quality of relationships with sponsors and the engagement with partners throughout the year. “We have a similar number of brands onboard (as compared to last season) but our focus with all of them is engaging them year-round.”

McCrum also spoke on the franchise’s digital ad deals and their marketing strategies. Read on.  

What kind of sponsorship revenue growth are you expecting from this IPL season?

We've had a significant increase in sponsorship revenue. We had a strong year in 2021, and we’ve beaten it this year with all our partnership deals. It's been a really healthy market. I think with the excitement around the tournament being back in India, we've managed to prove our concept in terms of world-class digital content that engages their brands. The brands who partner with us know that they're getting more than just a jersey position - they're getting a year-round activation. And so, we've been able to significantly increase our revenues from the majority of our positions this year.

There has been an increase in the number of digital ad deals that franchises do with brands. What explains this trend?

We are signing digital-only and broader partnership deals. Our focus is on having more deeply engaged partners who are not only providing more commercial value but better activation value as well. If we can have a partner who happens to own a major position and has more digital content and hence pays more for it, then that's a positive situation for both parties because they're benefiting from that continuity. The players are benefiting because they're really getting to understand the brand and engage with it, and the brands benefit with so many more deliverables.

We do also have some digital-only partnerships, which, again, we really like because we can create engaging content that cuts through the clutter of the IPL. We will continue to build on these in the coming times. For us, though, it is a combination and if a partnership doesn't offer overall quality for us as a brand, then we won’t do it. And so, we've turned away several partnerships as well based on that.

Is there a co-relation between team performance and the revenue earned by the franchises?

I think team performance can certainly have a positive influence on your revenue drivers. We’ve managed to achieve some positive results from the commercial side of the business despite some poor league finishes over the last three years, and that's through our higher quality digital activations. So, you can still secure strong value despite poor team performance in terms of the overall league finish. However, I believe that if we perform well, as we should perform this year, and be higher on the table then that will have a multiplier effect on all of our revenue streams, which is pretty exciting given what we've been able to achieve in some poor performing years. With a strong performing year, we can have some really positive momentum.

How are you coping with the ticketing revenue loss due to Covid-19 related restrictions?

The lack of matchday receipts does have an impact on our P&L. For us, it's less significant than other franchises given the size of our stadium and the average ticket price, especially with us having the lowest capacity of all IPL teams. However, I feel it affects us more from the perspective of fan engagement, missing out on the atmosphere that our fans have been able to create through the years. But hopefully, we can be back playing at our home soon.

A lot of marketing for IPL teams happens due to the activations done by official sponsors and partners. Apart from that, what is your standalone marketing strategy?

Our marketing strategy for this season is based on the theme of ‘Dil Se Royal’. We're trying to say that there is a brilliant history of the Royals, and through our efforts, we’re trying to showcase how over the years, we’ve been the franchise that has really exemplified and owned values and played our cricket keeping these values at the core. It means that being a Royal is not related to royalty, but being a Royal is your attitude, your effort, all efforts that you put in your game, and so we want that to come across in the fans as well. We want our fans to feel as close to the action as possible, as part of the family and part of the franchise as everyone here is.

How big is your core fan base, and how do you keep them engaged during and after the IPL?

Our fan base from a social media perspective is 25 million+. We’ve obviously got a lot more fans in India and around the world who might not be using social media channels but are also following us through other platforms. We have a presence around the world through a lot of different verticals that we’ve been involved in – be it our Royals School of Business, Academies in the UK, the UAE and in India. Our sister franchise Barbados Royals is in the Caribbean Premier League. We’ve obviously set some targets for ourselves in terms of being a bigger brand which should have a lot more followers around the world in future years.

How do you plan to build the non-sponsorship revenue streams?

One of my biggest focuses for the franchise is growing controllable revenue streams. So that's obviously, sponsorship and ticketing, but also the streams you’ve mentioned – licensing, merchandising, new ventures stream. We’ve got an online education business, we've got an academies business and we're looking heavily into it. So, there's lots of opportunities there and my mission is to triple our controllable revenue streams over the next three to four years, which will be a significant achievement and results in a reliable and significant stream of revenue and profit for the business. 

Covid-19 has compelled sports organisations globally to focus on digital revenue streams. How can sports clubs monetise more content online?

You see more and more sports teams around the world looking at long-form content, partnering with some of the top OTT platforms, so that's something we're actively doing as most of the other franchises. I think how you integrate content with sponsors is really important, and creating content your fans want to see that has synergies with the partners you're working with, that leads to a much deeper engagement. That means better return on investment to your partners, more enjoyable content for your fans, and again, benefits everyone. So that's our focus. 

If it's a natural integration if the brand is related to the content you're creating, it can be a seamless integration like Happilo, for example, is a healthy snack that the players enjoy. And so, it's quite easy to create content around that product because the players are naturally using it anyway and you can do some entertaining stuff for the fans to enjoy as well. Red Bull is another one that is a brilliant, adventure sports brand, which creates content that the fans love. Our jersey launch this year, again, was one of the most creative jersey launches I've ever seen, and our fans responded really positively to it. So, I think if you have the right creative people in the right brands you're partnering with, you can keep the fans really engaged while benefiting brands and ourselves emotionally.

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Women's IPL: Viacom18 bags media rights worth Rs 951 crore for 5 years

Each match has been valued at Rs 7.09 crore

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 16, 2023 12:52 PM   |   5 min read

ipl

Viacom18 has been awarded the Women's IPL media rights for Rs 951 crore for the next five years announced Jay Shah, the Secretary of Board of Control for Cricket in India, in a tweet today. Each match has been valued at Rs 7.09 crore. 

The rights comprise three categories - linear (TV), digital and combined (TV and digital) - and were sold globally, including India.

The announcement was made by Jay Shah, Secretary, the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

Congratulations @viacom18 for winning the Women’s @IPL media rights. Thank you for your faith in @BCCI and @BCCIWomen. Viacom has committed INR 951 crores which means per match value of INR 7.09 crores for next 5 years (2023-27). This is massive for Women’s Cricket

Shah further said, "After pay equity, today's bidding for media rights for Women's IPL marks another historic mandate. It's a big and decisive step for empowerment of women's cricket in India, which will ensure participation of women from all ages. A new dawn indeed!"

The rights comprise three categories - linear (TV), digital and combined (TV and digital) - and were sold globally, including India.

Shah said the bidding amount would have a per-match-value of Rs 7.09 crore (USD 866,000 approx.) over five years.

The men's IPL, in comparison, fetched a five-year deal of Rs 48,390.5 crore (USD 6.2 billion approx. at the time) in June last year with a per-match-value of INR 58 crore (USD 7.43 million approx.).

Women's media rights did not have a base price unlike the men's. Over 22 matches will be played in the tournament that is set to be launched in March this year.

Broadcast heavyweights snapped up five-year media rights for the men’s IPL for a steep ₹48,390. Disney Star acquired the rights to broadcast men’s IPL in the Indian subcontinent for Rs 23,575 Cr ($3.02 Bn) for 2023-27 and Viacom18 grabbed the digital rights for the league with a bid of INR 20,500 Cr ($2.57 Bn).

The men's rights were split across multiple categories and regions.

BCCI President Roger Binny said: “I would like to congratulate Viacom18 for bagging the media rights for Women’s IPL for the period of 5 years. Women’s cricket has been on the up since a few years and the recently concluded bilateral series against Australia is a great testament to how popular women’s cricket has become in India. It was only apt to get our own women’s T20 league and give the fans more of women’s cricket. I would also like to congratulate the BCCI leadership and its workforce for a successful media rights process and wish them the very best for the first edition of the Women’s IPL.”

BCCI Honorary Secretary Jay Shah said, “I am really thrilled that we have had such an encouraging response for a league that will revolutionise women’s cricket not just in India but across the globe. This is a commitment I had made to the Board and our women cricketers and today we have taken one big leap. The broadcasters play a key role in taking the game to a wider audience and their active interest in the league is a clear indication that the Women’s Indian Premier League is headed in the right direction. The per-match valuation of Rs 7.09 crore is something that has never previously been registered for a women’s game. I congratulate Viacom18 for securing both the TV and digital rights with a combined bid of Rs 951 crore and welcome them on Board. The journey has well and truly started and we will take another major step this month when the five franchises are announced.

Chairman, IPL Governing Council, Arun Singh Dhumal said: “It gives me immense pleasure to welcome Viacom18 as our official digital and television broadcaster for women’s IPL. Viacom18 has committed INR 951 crores, which is a per-match value of INR 7.09 crores for the next 5 years (2023-27).

The faith of all our bidders for this process also testifies that they see value in investing in this property which will only be growing with each passing year. Women’s cricket has shown immense growth in the past few years and our own T20 league, it only solidifies our approach towards women’s cricket and the potential it has for growth in India. I would once again like to congratulate Viacom18 and would also like to thank all our bidders for supporting and showing faith in our prospects.”

Rajeev Shukla, Vice-President, BCCI, said: "I'm truly glad to witness a new dawn in women's cricket today. The Women's IPL would elevate the stature of women's cricket across the globe and would groom talents at the grassroots level. Congratulations to Viacom18 for winning the media rights for Women’s IPL 2023-27. We hope to witness phenomenal enthusiasm and support from cricket audiences worldwide."

BCCI Treasurer Ashish Shelar said, “I congratulate and thank Viacom18 for their record bid and faith in the league. With a consolidated bid of INR 951 crore they have won both the TV as well as digital rights. These are record numbers for a women’s tournament and signal to a promising start to Women’s IPL. I am confident that the tournament will prove to be a game-changer and that the popularity of women’s cricket will soar further. A lot of work is being done behind the scenes and the first season of this unique tournament will truly be memorable.”

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Jio to stream IPL for free in 11 regional languages

The app is expected to sell inventory, not only on impressions but also as 10-second slots, the way it is sold on TV

By Naziya Alvi Rahman | Jan 10, 2023 8:21 AM   |   2 min read

IPL

In a move that is likely to be a game-changer for IPL this season, Sports18 is believed to have decided to air IPL free on the Jio app, taking its reach to over 500 million users. As part of its strategy to take TV head-on, the app is expected to sell its inventory, not only on impressions but also as 10-second slots, exactly like how it is sold on TV.

Sources in the industry claimed the pitch by Sports18 is concentrated around four points. Unlike Disney+ Hotstar, the matches will be available free on the Jio app and that too in 11 different languages, including Bhojpuri, Tamil and Bengali.

Coming to the pricing, Sports18 is believed to have marginally slashed its rates to attract diverse advertisers. “They are playing on reach and mass. They claim to reach 500+ million subscribers and no match is behind any paywall. They want to connect with newer advertisers who have always aspired to be associated with IPL but did not have the means. Also, the legacy brands will nevertheless continue their association,” said a senior media planner.

Echoing the views, another senior media expert said: “They may just start with a lower slab and later increase the rates depending upon the response they may get going forward. It’s always smart to play the mass game,” he added.

The digital player is also believed to be banking on the growth of connected TV. “Most people, particularly in the cities, have smart TVs and may prefer installing the Jio app over investing in a package. Hence, this will bring you IPL for free on your big screen as well," the expert noted.

Sports18, when contacted for comments, neither accepted nor denied the claims.

Early last year, Viacom18 (Sports18) bagged the IPL digital rights for the Indian subcontinent for a whopping sum of Rs 20,500 crore, which amounts to Rs 50 crore per match.

“They have a huge sum to recover and so they are looking at different possible ways to sell their game. Being the debutant in the domain they want to play safe yet aggressive,” said another senior industry player.

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Women's IPL: Media rights auction on Jan 16

Broadcasters like Disney+ Star, Sony-ZEE and Viacom18 are reportedly in the fray for the rights

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 9, 2023 12:10 PM   |   2 min read

women's ipl

The media rights auction for the highly anticipated Women's IPL will be held on January 16, as opposed to January 12 as reported before.

The auction will see participation from big broadcasters such as Disney+ Star, Sony-ZEE and Viacom18who will reportedly submit their bids on the said date. The bidding will reportedly be a closed process with the best bidder bagging the rights.

"Any interested party wishing to submit a bid is required to purchase the ITT. However, only those satisfying the eligibility criteria set out in the ITT and subject to the other terms and conditions set out therein, shall be eligible to bid. It is clarified that merely purchasing this ITT does not entitle any person to bid. The BCCI reserves the right to cancel or amend the bidding process at any stage in any manner at its discretion," BCCI stated.

The country has been waiting with bated breath for the inaugural edition of the tournament to be held in March 2023. Given the popularity of women's cricket in India, the event is touted to be a big draw for all stakeholders involved, especially for broadcasters.'

e4m previously reported that the cricket board is expecting to earn Rs 8-10 crore per match and around Rs 160-200 crore from the 20 matches in the tournament, from media rights, sources closed to the development told e4m. BCCI is set to earn about Rs 107 crore per match in the men’s IPL from 2023 onwards. 

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Brand Mumbai Indians valued at $83 million: Report

According to Brand Finance, Mumbai Indians has nearly doubled its brand value over the years with a 99% growth since 2009

By exchange4media Staff | Dec 28, 2022 1:09 PM   |   1 min read

MI

Mumbai Indians has been valued at $83 million by global brand valuation agency – Brand Finance. According to the report, Mumbai Indians has registered a 4% spike as compared to 2021. 

The five-time IPL Champion has a mix of marquee and global brands on board, including DHL, TeamViewer, Cadbury Dairy Milk along with Slice. According to Brand Finance, Mumbai Indians has nearly doubled its brand value over the years with a 99% growth since 2009. This reflects the trust and strong brand partner portfolio of the franchise with brands having a high pedigree, which is not restricted to geographies. Its associations have also evolved with like-minded partners with whom Mumbai Indians has stitched long-term partnerships, unlocking maximum value for both brands.

Currently, Mumbai Indians has over 32 million fans across its social media platforms.

Notably, Mumbai Indians also emerged as the only brand to have registered a growth in 2020, unfazed by market slowdown and apprehensions amongst sponsors globally regarding investment in sports due to the pandemic.

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IPL Auction Live: Broadcaster, streaming partner set to make big money

While Star Sports is reportedly seeking Rs 35-40 lakh for a co-presenting sponsor slot, JioCinema is said to have priced its inventory at Rs 20 lakh

By Sonam Saini & Kanchan Srivastava | Dec 22, 2022 8:28 AM   |   2 min read

IPL

The Indian Premier League has grown into a decacorn within 13 years of its launch with sponsors and advertisers playing a big role in this journey.

Such is the craze for this sports property that even the live telecast of the players’ auction, slated to be held in Kochi this Friday, is set to make huge money for the broadcasters. IPL’s official broadcaster, Star Sports, and digital streaming partner, JioCinema, are selling ad inventory at premium rates. They have even onboarded a few sponsors for the live telecast. The list of sponsors even has an international bank, sources privy to the development have told e4m.

“Star Sports is seeking Rs 35-40 lakh for co-presenting sponsor of the live telecast. While associate sponsorship is priced at Rs 19-20 lakh, a spot buy is costing around Rs 11-16 lakh,” sources claimed.

Officials further said, “The broadcaster is also offering different packages for the auction day, ranging between Rs 12-18 lakh.”

JioCinema is reportedly seeking Rs 20 lakh for sponsorship packages, another source informed.

Queries sent to Star Sports remained unanswered till the time of filing this story. 

IPL media partners had been reigning in as sponsors in the past auctions as well, but their rates were not in this range, experts said.

In a historic auction held early this year, Disney Star acquired the rights to broadcast men’s IPL in the Indian subcontinent for Rs 23,575 crore ($3.02 Bn) for 2023-27, and Viacom18 grabbed the digital rights for the league with a bid of Rs 20,500 Cr ($2.57 Bn).

With $12 million per match, IPL is only behind the NFL as the world's 2nd most lucrative sports league.

Action at Auction

The IPL 2023 auction shortlist has 405 cricketers, including 273 from India. A maximum of 87 slots are up for grabs, with 30 to be filled by overseas players, BCCI has said.

Rs 2 crore has been set as the highest reserve price. While 19 overseas players have chosen to be slotted in the highest bracket, 11 players are with a base price of Rs 1.5 crore. Manish Pandey and Mayank Agarwal are the two Indian players on the list of 20 cricketers with a base price of Rs 1 crore.

The auction is set to start at 14:30 IST. Fans can watch the live streaming on JioCinema and the live telecast on Star Sports.

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IPL a 'decacorn' after crossing $10 billion valuation in 2022: Report

The value of the IPL ecosystem has grown 75% in dollar terms since 2020, D and P Advisory's 'Beyond 22 Yards' report

By exchange4media Staff | Dec 21, 2022 8:40 AM   |   4 min read

IPL

D and P Advisory announced the launch of a valuation report on one of the largest sporting events in the world- the Indian Premier League (IPL) for 2022. The report titled “Beyond 22 Yards” highlights that the value of the IPL Ecosystem registered a 75% growth since 2020, and now stands at USD 10.9 billion. In 2020, the IPL was valued at USD 6.2 billion. This valuation makes IPL a Decacorn (a business with a value of more than USD 10.0 billion) within 15 years of inception. The IPL Ecosystem represents the value generated by the IPL as a business.

A landmark event this time was the auction of the IPL media rights for 2023 to 2027. For the first time, media rights were spread among different broadcasters, breaking the monopoly of one company. The league has sold media rights at USD 6.2 billion, registering a three-fold jump compared to the previous 5-year cycle in 2017. Additionally, the tournament in 2022 also registered a record-breaking combined viewership of 426 million on television and OTT platforms.

With two new teams (Gujarat Titans and Lucknow SuperGiants) getting bought last year at a combined staggering value of USD 1.6 billion, the average price tag of a team has seen a whopping 16-fold jump from its inception. These two factors were instrumental in boosting the valuation of IPL to become a Decacorn and the second-largest sporting league (on a per-match basis from broadcasting fees) globally.

To add to the momentum, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has announced the launch of the Women’s Indian Premier League with a base price for a franchise at INR 400 crores (USD 50 million). This price is higher than most other cricket leagues globally and will add immense value to the overall IPL Ecosystem.

However, on a broader scale, IPL is significantly behind in terms of ad rates, when compared with some of the other global sporting leagues. For example, a 10-second slot for an ad during IPL 2022 cost nearly USD 20,000; whereas, the ad rates for the same time slots at National Football League, English Premier League and Major League Baseball were over USD 1,00,000. Drawing this comparison, the report mentions how IPL has a lot more space to grow in the future provided broadcasters are able to monetise the content well.

On the launch, Santosh N, Managing Partner, D and P Advisory says, “Since its launch in 2008, IPL has reimagined the nation’s cricket competition. IPL 2022 witnessed some major milestones and captivating games throughout the season. The renewed media rights deal was a major contributor towards a substantial jump in value for a relatively young league like IPL. These observations are an assurance of the fact that the IPL will continue to revolutionise the game of cricket and will be etched in the hearts of millions of fans for years to come.”

The report goes on to say that the IPL team owners are looking to replicate the multi-club ownership model as part of their long-term strategy. For example- The Knight Riders Group owning the right to Trinbago Knight Riders in the Caribbean Premier League, and a franchisee of the UAE T20. It also has plans to build cricket stadiums in Los Angeles, USA, in partnership with the Major League cricket. Reliance Industries, the owners of Mumbai Indians, recently unveiled two new franchises in UAE’s International League T20 and Cricket South Africa T20 League.

Furthermore, with BCCI having forged and locked in new broadcasting deals for the next five years, the report foresees a more stable phase in terms of the value of the IPL Ecosystem. “The value appreciation may not be as fast as seen in the earlier years”, it states.

The report also states that digital rights being sold separately from TV rights would result in greater engagement on digital platforms. Further, the impending introduction of 5G services, greater penetration of the internet and increased smartphone usage will add to the rise in viewership.

The report concluded by stating that for these growth trajectories to maintain their momentum, all teams need to continue broadening their footprint, forming relationships, and generating revenue opportunities in different markets. Ultimately, apart from the love for cricket that viewers have, much of cricket’s future depends on ensuring quality; not just for the fans, but also to attract sponsors and broadcasters, the latter of which has become vital for the game’s financial health.

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Women’s IPL: Better to sell media rights before franchise auction, says IPL Chairman

BCCI has not set any base price for the Women's IPL rights

By exchange4media Staff | Dec 20, 2022 10:17 AM   |   1 min read

Women's IPL

IPL Chairman Arun Dhumal has said that selling media rights for Women's IPL before conducting the auction for franchises will help prospective team buyers get a better perspective of the possible revenue, media networks have said.

The BCCI has not set any base price for the Women's IPL rights and is waiting for the markets to set the price, Dhumal was quoted as saying.

BCCI is expected to earn about Rs 107 crore per match in the men’s IPL from 2023 onwards.

Click here for our earlier report.

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