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Top companies get ready to play, want a bite of cricketing action

Top companies get ready to play, want a bite of cricketing action

New Delhi / Mumbai: Major companies such as PepsiCo India, Reliance-Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, ICICI Bank Ltd, Hero Honda Motors Ltd, Future Group and real estate developer DLF Ltd are all in the race to acquire title sponsorship rights to the Twenty20 Indian Premier League (IPL), the domestic cricket league launched by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

The last date for submitting the bids is 13 February and IPL has set a fee of Rs3 crore from those wanting to participate in the bidding process.

Winners will be announced on the same day.

Besides the title sponsorship, the other rights that will be up for grabs include official, umpire and IPL team uniform sponsorships. These rights, however, will be sold by sports marketing agency IMG, which is the official marketing partner for IPL.

“Several leading advertisers are in the race for title sponsorship. I can’t disclose their names, though," said Dheeraj Malhotra, marketing and tournament manager for IPL. “Besides the regular cricket advertisers, some leading banks and telecom companies are also in the fray for the rights," said Malhotra.

Two top executives at two different media buying houses claimed BCCI had set Rs23.6 crore as the base price for rights to the sponsorship. Some media buyers expect the bids to go as high as Rs40 crore.

“We expect to generate Rs200 crore over the next five years from title sponsorship," claimed Malhotra.

IPL plans a big launch of the tournament, which starts 18 April. It has hired Ogilvy & Mather and Maxus, as its creative and media buying partners, to put together a glitzy advertising and marketing campaign across various media platforms. Executives from these two agencies said Rs120-160 crore are likely to spent be on marketing the event this year itself.

Pepsi and Hero Honda are regular cricket sponsors while retailer Future Group announced last year it will spend around Rs150 crore on cricket advertising over the next three years.

“We believe IPL is going to be a big initiative in the world of cricket and we are very excited about the opportunities it offers. With cricket as one of Pepsi’s leading communication pillars, we are keen to associate with such opportunities that come our way," said Sandeep Singh Arora, executive vice-president (marketing, cola), PepsiCo India. “IPL is an interesting property and every marketer worth its salt is evaluating it right now," added Deepika Warrier, marketing director, PepsiCo India Holdings Pvt. Ltd, Fritolay division.

Other advertisers, however, were more guarded. “We are evaluating IPL. It goes without saying that cricket is a very powerful marketing tool for any company," said a senior executive at Future Group, not wanting to be named because he was not authorized to speak with media.

The IPL tournament will have 59 matches spread over 44 days, with two matches every Saturday and Sunday. Eight official teams—for New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Mohali, Jaipur, Hyderabad and Kolkata—have already been announced.


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