Graphic: Subrata Jana/Mint
Graphic: Subrata Jana/Mint

Star India seen earning ₹200 crore in ad revenue from ISL

Almost 90% of brands renewed their deal with the broadcaster, including title sponsor Hero MotoCorp

New Delhi: Star India, the official broadcaster of Indian Super League (ISL), is expected to earn 200 crore in advertising revenue from the fifth season of the men’s professional football tournament, said top media buyers at advertising agencies.

Almost 90% of brands have renewed their sponsorship deal with the broadcaster, including title sponsor Hero MotoCorp, and associate sponsors Maruti Suzuki India Ltd and DHL Express India. There are others such as fantasy sports firm Dream 11, homegrown sports equipment manufacturer Nivia and sports footwear and apparel brand Zeven, which have come on board as partners. The broadcaster has sold more than 50% of its ad inventory at the rate of 1 -1.5 lakh for a 10 second slot.

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“This edition of the league is longer (six months) than last season (four months) and it will cover high ad spending months, including Diwali, Christmas, New Year’s as well as Holi. I would say while the advertiser response is good for ISL 5 , it’s not great. But most of the brands associations are repeat sponsors which shows that the property has delivered in the past," said Jigar Rambhia, national director, sports and entertainment partnerships, Wavemaker India.

Apart from broadcasting ISL matches on its network in six languages, the tournament will also see the debut of Star Sports 3 channel where matches will be broadcast in Hindi. Along with video streaming platform Hotstar, ISL matches will also be available on JioTV under the partnership Star has signed with Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. Star has also brought a total of 30 commentators in English, Hindi and regional languages, including FIFA commentators John Helm and Mark Tompkins. Meanwhile, all 10 teams are expected to collectively earn 100 crore worth of sponsorship money. Teams from Kerala, Chennai and Mumbai are expected to bring in higher revenue, between 10 crore and 12 crore each, compared to Delhi, Goa and the North East which will earn 4 to 5 crore due to differences in spectator interest and size of the market, said media buyers.

According to Indranil Das Blah, chief executive of Mumbai City FC, the response has been really good over the last two seasons for ISL. “We are the only football club in Mumbai which helps. Besides, the combination of sports and Bollywood (with actor Ranbir Kapoor as the owner of the team) appeals to a lot of brands," he said.

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Most of the brands that sponsor ISL teams tend to target a younger group of those between 16 and 30 years of age. However, heritage brands such as Muthoot Group also stay relevant by associating with a team like Kerala.

The fifth edition of the game is expected to bring an additional 30 crore from gate receipts taking the overall value of the tournament to 330 crore. Though football offers limited ad inventory compared to cricket matches, media buyers feel that football is yet to hit a significant viewership to demand a premium.

“Almost 90% of advertising money currently goes into cricket while the rest of the sports collectively make up for 10% of media spends in India. Advertising follows viewership which is still not significant for football. I’m hopeful that it will grow over the next few years," said Ashish Bhasin, chairman and chief executive (South Asia), Dentsu Aegis Network Media India Pvt. Ltd.

Sony Pictures Networks Ltd made an estimated 200 crore in advertising revenue from FIFA World Cup which is in sharp contrast to over 2,000 crore that Star is reported to have clocked through Indian Premier League.

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