Mumbai: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) set Rs.300 crore as the base price for the title sponsorship of the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 tournament over the next five years and is looking to get almost twice what real estate firm DLF Ltd paid for the 2008-12 rights at an auction.
“We expect the value of the title sponsorship to at least double, given the success of the league and the resonance it has had worldwide,” IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla said.
The board is expecting Rs.80-100 crore per year from the new title sponsor, an IPL executive said, requesting anonymity. DLF, which won the right for Rs.40 crore a year for the first five seasons, said in August that it won’t renew its title sponsorship deal.
The last date for submitting bids is 21 November. Interested bidders will have to pay Rs.2 lakh for the tender documents.
The reserve price has raised concerns among media buyers and advertisers who say it’s too high in the face of an economic slowdown.
“Given the market sentiment, the base price is too steep,” said Mona Jain, chief executive officer of Vivaki Exchange, a media buying agency that represents clients of ZenithOptimedia and Starcom Mediavest Group.
Some industry experts said television ratings had declined as had the hype around the tournament, while controversies had increased. With positive publicity dropping, the window for promotions and advertising has also narrowed.
“If the mileage in terms of ground activation, merchandising, multi-media campaigns are the same that DLF was offered, then it’s not good enough,” said a Lodestar Universal executive.
Media experts said those most keen to bid are likely to be automobile and phone companies.
“It is a long-term commitment,” said an executive with Madison Media, the media agency that handles Bharti Airtel Ltd. “Only large advertisers will be interested in leveraging this property.”
Advertisers that may be interested would include Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India Ltd, Tata DoCoMo, Hero MotoCorp Ltd and PepsiCo India, according to executives from media buying agencies GroupM, Lodestar Universal and Madison Media.
Spokespersons of Tata DoCoMo, Vodafone and PepsiCo declined to comment. Bharti Airtel’s spokesperson refused to comment, saying it was the silent period for the company as its results are to be announced shortly. A Vodafone executive who didn’t want to be named said the company may participate in the bidding.
Bharti and Tata DoCoMo have been on-air advertisers with official broadcaster SET Max, owned by Multi Screen Media Pvt Ltd. Vodafone has been associated with the Twenty20 league as an on-ground sponsor as well as on-air presenting sponsor with SET Max. Hero MotoCorp was a team sponsor of the Delhi Daredevils for the first three seasons and then of the Mumbai Indians for season 4 and 5. Hero has also been an on-ground sponsor.
As per industry estimates, Vodafone India has spent nearly Rs.50 crore per year as on-ground sponsor and on-air sponsor (with SET Max), while Hero MotoCorp has spent around Rs.70 crore as on-air, on-ground and team sponsor.
“Vodafone as a brand has benefited immensely from its IPL associations, the campaigns it launched around the league have had high recall among viewers,” said a senior executive at GroupM, which handles Vodafone and Hero MotoCorp. “Hero, too, has gained mileage through cricket, a presence on IPL and its association with the International Cricket Council (ICC). The title sponsorship will further enhance the brand.”
In 2010, Hero signed a three-year deal with ICC starting with the Twenty20 World Cup that year.
Vidhi Choudhary and Suneera Tandon in New Delhi contributed to this story.