Mumbai/New Delhi: The Indian Premier League (IPL) on Tuesday announced a three-year deal with handset manufacturer Karbonn Mobiles Ltd to be the official mobile phone partner as well as be the title sponsor for IPL Nights, to be aired on MTV.
According to a senior media planner who did not want to be identified, Karbonn is spending “Rs32 crore for the year” on the deal. While the company did not comment on the deal size, a Karbonn Mobiles spokesperson said that under the arrangement, the company gets branding rights on the pitch mat, the boundary boards as well as stadium screens.
While Karbonn will share this space with other sponsors, it has also instituted a Karbonn Classic Catch prize for each match. The MTV programme will cover post-match parties held for cricketers and Bollywood celebrities.
IPL is also charging a premium for sponsored blimps at the match venues. Tyre brand MRF Ltd is spending Rs16 crore to sponsor the blimps, according to the media buyer whose agency is associated with IPL media deals. Koshy Varghese, executive vice-president at MRF, said the company has “no comments to make till the deal was confirmed”.
Karbonn, meanwhile, has also signed on cricketers Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli and Manish Pandey to endorse the brand. The new ad campaign featuring them will be on air soon. “We have set aside an advertising and marketing budget of Rs150 crore for the coming financial year and are likely to increase that amount by 20% year-on-year,” said Sudhir Hasija, chairman of Karbonn Mobiles.
The company has been investing heavily in sports to build its brand. It sponsored three domestic cricket teams: the Cape Cobras, Diamond Eagles and Wayamba Elevens during the Champions League T20. The company is also associated with the Hockey World Cup and looks to being a part of the Commonwealth Games, to be held in New Delhi later this year.
Meanwhile, Google India Pvt. Ltd announced its advertising partners for live streaming of the IPL matches on YouTube. Leading the line-up are sponsors such as the Royal Challengers Bangalore, HSBC India, and HP India. The other sponsors taking up the sponsorship slots include Airtel, Coca-Cola and Samsung.
Two executives from media buying agencies said that the sponsorship deals on YouTube are available for between Rs1.5 crore and Rs4 crore.
“The combination of on-demand access and interactive community features on YouTube provides a whole new avenue for advertisers to engage their audience,” said Shailesh Rao, managing director of Google India, adding that it had received queries from advertisers across sectors. As per the deal, advertisers will have their brands displayed across the YouTube home page, next to and below the viewing window, overlay ads, as well as those inserted into the live feed and on-demand videos.
Royal Challengers Bangalore will take the spotlight during the final match of the tournament, and HSBC India and HP India will cover the semi-finals. Ads from sponsors will appear in all countries where YouTube is available, except the UK.
These brand associations will also be visible when consumers access match archives. Sponsors’ ads will also get featured on the IPL-branded Orkut community page.
“IPL has emerged as one of the hottest sporting properties in the world and this was a great opportunity for us to be associated with the tournament without the clutter, that is on ground and on television,” said Maitri Kumar, head of marketing at HSBC India.
According to some experts, not only would the association help advertisers interact and engage with consumers, but also reach out to a larger audience.
“This year a lot of IPL viewers, primarily the younger target groups, will be able to access the matches in office, thereby expanding the audience base,” said Anand Singh, director marketing at Coca-Cola India. “Also, considering that India still largely has single-television households, people will now have a viewing option.”
Siddhartha V. Mallya of Royal Challengers Bangalore maintained that visibility on digital media was an important element to reach out to an increasingly tech-savvy youth audience. “YouTube is providing us a whole new avenue to engage with our audiences wherever they are,” he said.