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IPL franchises gear up as countdown for Season 2 begins

14-April-2009
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IPL franchises gear up as countdown for Season 2 begins

With barely five days to go for the Indian Premier League (IPL) Season 2, the various League franchises have ramped up their activities that range from unveiling merchandising kits to innovations in brand building exercise. exchange4media speaks to a couple of IPL franchises to find out how they are going about their preparations.

Kings XI Punjab on Saturday, April 11, 2009 announced its nine sponsors for Season 2. Emirates, the Dubai-based global airline, is the team’s title sponsor. Orhan Abbas, Vice-President India and Nepal, Emirates Airline, said, “It’s a multimillion dollar deal for three years.” The other sponsors for the team include Gulf Oil, Nimbooz, Netlinkblue, Reebok, Royal Challenge, Springbok International, Dabur Glucose and Orbit. The team has also re-launched their website. The team’s jersey was also unveiled on the occasion. The Reebok merchandising will be available at all Reebok stores and on websites.

Mohit Burman, co-owner of Kings XI Punjab was confident that the franchise would break even by next year.

Meanwhile, defending champions Rajasthan Royals are aiming to gain new grounds in South Africa. The team has already tied up with Cape Cobras and Western Province to use Newlands in Cape Town as their practice location. Rajasthan Royals currently has nine sponsors on board – Ultra Tech, which is the title sponsor, Kingfisher, Puma, Royal Challenge, Boost, Wrigley, Pepsi, Real Television, and TCS. The team is also in talks for international brands based in South Africa.

Raghu Iyer, Chief Marketing Officer, Rajasthan Royals, said, “We spent quite some time in completing the brand building process in South Africa with Shilpa Shetty, who is not only the owner but also brand ambassador of Rajasthan Royals. We spent more than a week meeting people, doing road shows, and making our brand more visible over there. We have also tied up with the Western Province, the cricket county of South Africa, for a T20 match ahead of the IPL2. These are some of the initiatives that we have immediately undertaken to build our brand in South Africa.”

He further said, “Apart from these, we have also taken a number of initiatives in terms of merchandising, for instance, Puma launched our new hand wear, which will be available in South Africa, too. A significant part of the merchandise will certainly be T-shirts and head gears, and even ‘moustaches’, typically Rajasthani ones, that would be given to the spectators.”

On the franchises facing losses because of the change in the tournament venue, Iyer insisted that the revenue targets would be met. “In fact, it will be much better than last year,” he asserted.

Vidur Naik, Marketing Manager, Delhi Daredevils, said, “Since we have partnered with Fever FM and CNN-IBN, we will continue to develop content out of South Africa. We have also tied up with two SMS groups – one in India, called SMS Gupshup; the other one is very strong in South Africa and is called Mig33. We are working with them to target Indians in South Africa. Our focus now is to win the tournament.”

“Our merchandising will be available in Delhi and other cites as well. We have an official kit range, including match jersey, cap, etc., and an official license programme. They are currently being sold in cities like Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore. We are setting up 70 stores in 12 cities and Genesis, who makes the non-branded goods, is currently setting up stalls in few malls in Delhi. They would be also available on their websites. The mediums that we are using extensively are online, mobile, television and radio,” Naik added.

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