IPL 2021: Star Sports hikes spot buy rates for remaining matches by 10%

Spot buyers will now have to pay Rs 15.5-15.7 lakh per 10 second spot

e4m by Javed Farooqui
Updated: Aug 5, 2021 9:04 AM

Sports broadcaster Star Sports has hiked ad rates for the second phase of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021. IPL's TV reach, coupled with the festive fervour and positive sentiments among the advertisers, has encouraged the sportscaster to hike the spot buy rates. Almost 85% ad inventory for the remaining 31 matches have been booked, with 12 confirmed sponsors on-board.

With most of the ad inventory already sold, the sportscaster has hiked ad rates for spot buyers by almost 10% to Rs 15.5-15.7 lakh per 10 second spot. Earlier, spot buyers had to pay between Rs 14.1 and 14.3 lakh for a 10-second spot. Star Sports was charging Rs 13.2 lakh per 10 seconds from co-presenting sponsors and Rs 13.6 lakh per 10 seconds from associate sponsors, say reliable industry sources.

The broadcasting sponsors including Dream11, Byju's and PhonePe as co-presenting sponsors besides Bingo, Kamla Pasand, AMFI, Asian Paints, Amazon Prime, Cadbury Dairy Milk, Thums Up, Garnier Men and Cred as associate sponsors. According to a TAM Sports report, 90+ advertisers and 165+ brands were advertising on Star's TV network for the IPL 2021.

In April, the sportscaster had 17 confirmed sponsors, including the 12 above-mentioned names. However, five sponsors — Just Dial, Upstox, Frooti, Vodafone-Idea, Groww, and Havells Fans-- have decided not to continue with their sponsorship deals due to the postponement of the tournament.

“The IPL 2020 is the biggest impact platform available for marketers, and this, combined with the festive season, makes it even more appealing for the brands. Last year, Star Sports had witnessed great traction, and we are confident of repeating the success given the demand and positive sentiment in the market. With around 45 days left for the first game, we have closed 12 sponsors and sold out significant inventory,” a Star Sports spokesperson said, without divulging any details.

An industry source privy to developments said the sports broadcaster is eyeing more spot buyers to squeeze better rates from the remaining inventory. That said, there are brands which are actively negotiating sponsorship deals, including the ones that have chosen not to continue their deals for the second phase of the tournament.

“Star Sports is planning to sell remaining 15% inventory to spot buyers to get higher rates, but there are brands that want to come on-board as sponsors to get discounts as the outlay will be bigger,” the source shared. He also noted the sports broadcaster wants to conclude the IPL advertising deals, as the ICC T20 World Cup will be happening immediately after the conclusion of the cash-rich league.

“IPL and ICC T20 World Cup happening back to back will not hurt Star since IPL inventory will be only for 31 matches and that too, only 15% inventory is unsold. Even that will get sold out in a few days. Thus, sponsors will not have time to pick and choose between the two properties,” the source stated. For the T20 WC, the sports broadcaster has confirmed six sponsors including Byju's, Dream 11, Vimal and Coca-Cola.

At the time of the postponement of IPL 2021, Star Sports had communicated to its sponsors and spot buyers that they need to pay only for the ad inventory which they have consumed. It had also given an option to sponsors and spot buyers to either continue their deals or come back as and when the remainder part of the IPL resumes. The sponsors also had the first right of refusal for the second phase of the IPL.

“Subsequently, majority of the advertisers, comprising 77% of the ad inventory, had decided to continue their deals. Thus, the broadcaster had to sell only 23% inventory for the remaining 31 matches. Star Sports has sold an additional 8% inventory to take the total sold inventory to 85%,” the source revealed.

According to another industry source, the brands that have decided not to continue their sponsorship deals have done so because of seasonality. “Seasonality plays a critical role in deciding the brands the broadcaster gets on board. With the phase 2 of the IPL being resumed in September, the uptake for the winter brands will be more,” the source noted.

Star Sports' strategy is to engage with brands and categories that are aggressive on customer acquisition. “IPL’s proposition of high attention for ads and large scale reach in a short period has been a key enabler for many brands to drive their business agenda. The broadcaster is seeing many new advertisers considering an opportunity to have IPL in their media plans this season,” the source added.

The remainder part of IPL 2021 season will be played between 19th September and 15th October in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). A total of 31 matches will be played during the 27-day window. There will be 7 double headers (5 matches already played in India — total of 12 matches) with the first match starting at 3:30 PM IST (2:00 PM Gulf Standard Time). All evening matches will start at 7:30 PM IST (6:00 PM Gulf Standard Time).

The 14th season, which was postponed in May this year in the wake of the pandemic, will resume on 19th September in Dubai with a blockbuster clash between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians. In all, 13 matches will be held in Dubai, 10 in Sharjah and 8 in Abu Dhabi.

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