IPL sponsors look at rejuvenating buyer’s sentiment

Expected to set a new viewership record, IPL 2020 is attracting advertisers from across sectors giving the broadcaster the confidence to quote higher prices for ad slots

e4m by Tasmayee Laha Roy
Updated: Aug 26, 2020 9:22 AM
IPL 2020

The buzz around IPL is growing, not just for the fans but also for the brands that are looking at the extravaganza to rejuvenate the market. Star has on-boarded 10 brands as sponsors and with the thirteenth season of IPL expected to set the bar higher in terms of viewership and reach, brands are hoping to leverage it in the best way possible.

“In the current pandemic, sport comes as a relief. IPL has always been enjoyed by everyone across India, irrespective of age or location. This year since mobility is limited and everyone is largely working from home, we expect audiences in much greater numbers to watch the IPL matches. From supporting their favourite teams to entertaining social media banter, the IPL excitement will definitely help brands grab more eyeballs,” said Sameer Nigam, CEO and Founder, PhonePe.

Star India has reportedly booked more than 50% of its inventory with top brands on board. According to highly placed sources, the media rights holder for the cricket tournament has reportedly signed up Amazon, PhonePe and Dream11 as co-presenting sponsors for this edition. Some of other sponsors, which are reported to have confirmed their associations, include ITC Foods, Polycab, Asian Paints, Coca Cola, MRF, Mondelez and Kamala Pasand.

After a poor first quarter, the official broadcaster of the series is also said to have hiked ad rates by 20 to 25 per cent compared to the last season. The ad rate for this edition of IPL is approximately between Rs 12 lakh/10 seconds and Rs 12.5 lakh/10 seconds.

The expected hike in viewership is a key factor in attracting brands. TV consumption has been up 15 per cent over pre Covid-19 times (source: BARC), and live sports is expected to fill in the content vacuum in the market. Apart from that, the fact that matches this season would start earlier at 7:30pm will increase audience availability by more than 20 per cent (source: BARC).

Expected to set a new viewership record, IPL 2020 is attracting advertisers from across sectors giving the broadcaster the confidence to quote higher prices for ad slot even amidst low economic sentiments. Even at the hiked rates brands are betting big on IPL ad inventory.

For most names, associating with IPL is an effort to renew the buyer’s sentiment. Wire and cable manufacturing company Polycab for instance is looking at their association with the series as a hope to bring back some cheer to the market. “We have been associated with IPL for long but this time it is different. We have not spent any ad dollars in the last four to five months and IPL is our first big spend for the year to rejuvenate the subdued demand scenario in the market. We hope IPL will give a push to the brand,” said A Vijay Narayanan, President - Strategic Marketing at Polycab India Limited.

However, alongside hope there is apprehension.

“It has been said that IPL would get close to 20-25% more viewership but gain in viewership is just one side of the coin. Amidst the industrial output staying negative for 4 months in a row, CMIE has reported 5 million job losses and consumer sentiments being poor to negative. This poses an ominous apprehension during festive buying,” said Deepak Sharma, Managing Director, North-Starcom MediaVest Group.

According to Sharma, the AMJ period is when we saw IPL spends coming in from marketers and OND will see the festive spends. This time it might be a Catch-22 situation with IPL happening during the festive season. One might eat into the popularity of the other.

But there’s hope in the end for IPL.

“It’s a tough, troubled and unprecedented time yet Star has managed to sell 50% of their inventory and I am sure with a month in hand they will find innovative and creative ways of selling the balance 50% of inventory,” Sharma assured.

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