Mumbai: The Indian Premier League (IPL), on behalf of its eight franchisees, has tied up with Colors, a Hindi television channel, to launch a series of entertainment programmes around the popular Twenty20 cricket tournament.
The channel, part of Viacom 18 Media Pvt. Ltd, will produce programmes to be aired not just during the tournament in March and April but after the season as well, expanding the coverage and content to appeal to a wider audience.
Although there was no official word on the size of the deal, a person close to the development said Colors would pay IPL about Rs100 crore for a three-year contract. The channel’s production cost on the programmes would be additional to this, he said on condition of anonymity. “With IPL you have this 45-50 day window where everyone practically has to shut down the channel… Rather than do that, we decided to get into bed with them,” said Rajesh Kamat, chief operating officer, Viacom 18 and chief executive of Colors, an entertainment channel. He didn’t give the financial terms of the deal.
In cricket-worshipping India, viewership of such channels falls drastically during major tournaments. Kamat said general entertainment channels took a 10% hit on viewership during the second season of IPL last year.
Glued on: A TV grab of Khatron Ke Khiladi, a Colors reality show hosted by actor Akshay Kumar, that will soon feature some IPL players.
While Multi Screen Media Pvt. Ltd’s channel, MAX, will continue to hold rights for live coverage of the third season of the quick format league, Colors will focus on pre- and post-match entertainment, after-parties, fashion shows and award ceremonies, and develop new shows around it.
The programming would be led by a season of Khatron Ke Khiladi, a Colors popular reality show hosted by Hindi film actor Akshay Kumar. This time, it will feature some IPL players as well. “We will have to work within the limitations of player availability…cricket is their first priority,” said Kamat, adding that the channel would have access to both cricketers as well as team owners and film celebrities associated with IPL. “It (content for shows) could even be pure Bollywood, with the stamp of IPL.”
Another likely programme concept is a talent hunt reality show called Rockstar. “This (kind of programming) will also allow fans to interact with cricketers in a more systematic, controlled manner,” said Preity Zinta, actor and co-owner of Kings XI Punjab.
Colors would also broadcast IPL Awards, described by the league’s chairman and commissioner Lalit Modi as “a major red carpet event, along the stature of the Oscars”. The awards would be an annual event and a jury would be set up to determine the categories, he said.
The channel is yet to finalize the content for this partnership. “As far as advertising is concerned, we could sell individual properties to a client or even offer them the entire package,” said Kamat.
In another development, IPL authorities said the opening ceremony, launch dinner and the first match of the season between defending champions Deccan Chargers and Kolkata Knight Riders had been shifted from Hyderabad to the DY Patil stadium in Navi Mumbai.
“The matter was discussed with the franchisees and we all felt that it was best to move (the event) to Mumbai,” said Modi. The DY Patil stadium hosted the finals of the first edition of IPL in 2008. The second season was held in South Africa as it was scheduled close to the general election in April-May last year.
IPL has also tied up with United Nations Environment Programme, making it the third sporting event globally to do so after the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup.
IPL will calculate its carbon footprint and compensate for the emissions from its games, as well as green its operations.