New Delhi: The Board of Control for Cricket in India, or BCCI, is exploring new options of cashing in on the IPL, or Indian Premier League, brand.
The board, according to two senior executives of two IPL franchisee teams, is all set to launch a limited edition of co-branded mobile phones for the upcoming second season of the tournament.
The board has sent out letters to all the team owners seeking their interest and approval for rolling out co-branded mobile handsets.
Meanwhile, the IPL management is holding talks with some leading handset manufacturers for selling the rights to use IPL brand name for a limited period.
Sundar Raman, chief executive officer, IPL, confirmed the development but he refused to share any details. “Yes, we are talking to several people (for launching co-branded mobile handsets), but it is too early to comment.”
Mint could not independently confirm the names of mobile handset makers who IPL is currently talking to.
The two executives said they have received communication from the IPL board for expression of interest for launching the co-branded handsets. “We have written back to the board seeking more specifics on the proposal...we wish to see the viability of the model,” said one of the two executives. He did not want to be identified.
The board is exploring new ways of connecting the IPL brand with fans and also generate additional revenues in the process, the other executive said.
The duo said that the IPL board will sell the rights to use the IPL brand to mobile handset makers for a certain amount of licence fee, which, in turn, will be shared with those franchisees who agree to be part of the initiative.
The two executives also indicated that along with co-branded handsets, the IPL management is also exploring opportunities to sell the IPL content to mobile phone service providers. This would include screensavers, wall papers, highlights from the IPL archives as well as live clippings from the new season, the two executives said.
A branding expert said that while there is a huge market for cricket content, broadcasting live clippings of matches on mobile phones may not be possible. “Since we do not have the right infrastructure in place, I do not think that fans would be able to see live clipping of the matches,” said Tejaswini Aparanji, associate vice-president, Branding Entertainment, at P9 Integrated Pvt. Ltd.
Market observers say mobile handsets is a large and effective medium of reaching out to cricket fans.
According to Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst, Gartner India Research and Advisory Services Pvt. Ltd, 124 million mobile handsets were sold in India in 2008. This was 25% more over the previous year.
Leading companies which make mobile handsets in India include Nokia India Pvt. Ltd, Samsung Telecommunications India Pvt. Ltd, LG Electronics India Pvt. Ltd, Motorola India Pvt. Ltd, Haier Tele Communication India Pvt. Ltd, Spice Communications Pvt. Ltd and Sony Ericsson Mobile Communication India Pvt. Ltd.