New Delhi: Broadcaster Multi Screen Media Pvt. Ltd (MSMPL), which operates Sony Entertainment Television, is set to reap a bonanza from the third edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), which is expected to deliver Rs700 crore in advertising revenue for the network.

That’s up more than half from the Rs450 crore it earned last year when the 20-overs-a-side cricket tournament, the country’s most valuable sports property, was shifted to South Africa to skirt security issues and avoid dates clashing with the Indian general election.

Clean wicket: Multi Screen Media has sold close to 90% of its inventory a full six weeks ahead of the tournament’s launch date of 12 March. Reuters

MSMPL and World Sport Group Pte Ltd (WSG), a sports marketing company, paid Rs8,200 crore for the broadcasting rights to IPL until 2017.

According to a senior executive from the WPP Group-owned Mindshare, a media buying agency, the network began selling its 10-second advertising spots at Rs4.5 lakh, which is 200% more than the initial ad rates in the IPL season 1 at Rs1.5 lakh per 10 seconds and 80% higher than the initial rate of Rs2.5 lakh in the second season.

The executive did not wish to be identified because Mindshare manages the media buying business for IPL. In the past one week, the rates increased further to Rs5.25 lakh for 10 seconds.

“We are all sold out in spite of the spiralling advertising rates," said Rohit Gupta, MSMPL’s president of network sales, confirming the advertising rates.

The broadcaster is now holding back 10% of the inventory to sell it at a premium during the final and semi-final matches. “These should be substantially higher than the Rs10 lakh per 10-second level of last year," Gupta added.

Mobile phone firm Vodafone Group Plc and electronic goods maker Videocon Industries Ltd have signed on as presenting sponsors on MSMPL’s SET Max channel, which will telecast the matches, for Rs50 crore each, a 66% increase from last year’s Rs30 crore sponsorship rate.

Among the advertisers who have picked the associate sponsorship rights are Pepsico India Holdings Pvt. Ltd, LG Electronics India Pvt. Ltd, Hyundai Motor India Ltd, Samsung Electronics India Pvt. Ltd, Hindustan Unilever Ltd, Godrej and Boyce Manufacturing Co. Ltd and Tata Photon of Tata Teleservices Ltd.

They paid Rs35 crore each, a 25% increase from the Rs28 crore that associate sponsors paid last year.

A host of other brands such as Max New York Life Insurance Co., Tata DoCoMo, Havells India Ltd, Coca-Cola India Inc., Wipro Ltd, Sony India and ITC Ltd may have given the sponsorship rights a miss this year, but have booked large deals with the network, said Gupta.

“If you notice, most of the brands that have signed on with us this year have been present on season 1 and 2 even though there’s been a tremendous increase in advertising rates. Clearly, IPL delivers more than just good ratings for advertisers," Gupta said.

Advertisers on board IPL agree with Gupta.

“The IPL mileage has been tremendous for the brand, which is why we are putting in a lot of money into the tournament this year as well," said George Menezes, chief operating officer of Godrej’s appliances division.

Still, electrical goods manufacturer Havells, a prominent sponsor during IPL Season 1 and 2, has been content with spot purchases this year because of the steep rise in cost.

“We are participating in IPL this year but the cost to be a sponsor has gone up substantially," said Vijay Narayanan, vice-president for marketing at Havells. “Since the advertising budget is limited, one cannot put all the money in one property spread across just over a month."