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IPL 2018 : Will CSK regain its brand value?

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IPL 2018 : Will CSK regain its brand value?

The mega-auction of the Indian Premier League's 11th edition is scheduled to be hosted in Bengaluru on January 27 and 28. Building up on the same, this is the second part of an IPL series around discussing brand associations and the value of each team. 

All eyes are on Chennai Super Kings in 2018 as the IPL team returns to the turf after a two year ban. Sponsors, including India Cements, ACT Fibernet, and HIL Ltd have already confirmed their associations with the Yellow Team for 2018. In fact, the team has already filled the slots for all the nine sponsors; the names of all the sponsors are yet to be revealed. 

There is some speculation that Aircel, a consistent partner of the team for all eight years, may not sponsor the team this year. 

MS Dhoni has returned to the team, thus reviving confidence in the team. "Dhoni, the captain, returning to the team is a very important endorsement for the team. He has been a consistent player who has delivered on the field,” said N Chandramouli, CEO, TRA.

The team led by Dhoni has had a fierce fan-following all through. Fans who have missed seeing this formidable team in action are looking forward to its return, thus adding to the value to the team. "I think the two-year hiatus for CSK probably increases its value much like what it did for Manchester United when the air crash happened (in 1958 when eight of their players died). I don't know if it's in the same league but surely people in Chennai and fans across the world are waiting for CSK to return. I hope it turns out to be a good comeback," said Cricketer R Ashwin in July 2017. 
When CSK last played in 2015, its value had dropped to $67 million from $72 million in 2014 as per a valuation by American Appraisal India and Duff & Phelps. CSK also dropped from Rank 1 in 2014 to Rank 3 in 2015. In the same report, CSK emerged as the team with least brand value on the basis of the effectiveness and transparency of their management teams. Interestingly though, in the same year, CSK was ranked No 1 in social media ranking with a combined Facebook and Twitter following of 11.8 million.

“The team was tainted, but that tainting is now more or less behind it,” said Chandramouli speaking about the impact of the two-year ban on the team's brand value and the sponsors. He added that the current valuation will not depend on the fact that the team has been restarted but on the performances of the team members. "While Dhoni’s performance has been questioned, his performance in the IPL format has been open."

The total value of the IPL grew by only 9% between 2014 and 2015 to US$3.54 billion in 2015 from US$3.25 billion in 2014 when controversy gripped the IPL-world. In 2016 when CSK did not play, the value of brand IPL grew by as much as 19% to reach $4.16 billion. A jump of 19% was recorded despite the fact that the US dollar to Indian rupee currency had depreciated by nearly 10%.

2018 could be year that CSK regains its brand value with support from its ardent fan base. 
Confirmed sponsors so far include:

India Cements 
A leading cement manufacturing company in the country, India Cements Limited, has partnered with CSK for the last eight seasons and will continue its association with Chennai Super Kings for the VIV0 2018 Indian Premier League season. The company’s logo will continue to be on the back of the Lions’ yellow jersey.

ACT Fibernet
The internet service provider has come on board as the official fibernet partner. ACT Fibernet will provide high speed internet and Wi-Fi coverage to the entire MA Chidambaram Stadium during CSK matches so that the over 40,000 fans seated in the stadium get to enjoy HD quality speeds simultaneously to watch live videos, match replays and access social media.

As a part of the brand association, all the CSK players’ uniforms will carry the HIL company logo and the logos of its super brands -- Birla Aerocon and Charminar.

The Chennai team was suspended for two years from IPL by Justice R M Lodha Committee in 2015, as it convicted Gurunath Meiyappan, son-in-law of Srinivasan, as guilty of betting.

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