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With covid-19 restrictions in place, the BCCI moved the tournament to the United Arab Emirates.
With covid-19 restrictions in place, the BCCI moved the tournament to the United Arab Emirates.

IPL franchises review deals, select sponsors

The matches will be played to empty stands and gate receipts won’t be a part of income

NEW DELHI : With the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 barely a month away, the league’s eight franchises are sprinting to sign up last-minute sponsors even as existing ones are trying to renegotiate a lower fee citing the pandemic.

Sponsors are demanding that the teams accept 10-20% less than what they had agreed to pay in the pre-covid days, team owners said.

Satish Menon, chief executive, Kings XI Punjab IPL team, said negotiations on fees are continuing with some sponsors.

“No one is asking for massive discounts and such negotiations will continue as it is part of the game this year. We will try and avoid giving discounts but instead give value. The only positive side of the pandemic is that it has pushed us to adopt technology and we will be able to leverage it to interact with our fans and spectators," Menon added.

Financial exchange platform Ebixcash is the team’s title sponsor and detergent brand Fena, Jio Digital Life and Royal Stag are the principal sponsors.

“This year is going to be a testing time to see how technology can provide deeper engagement in cricket going forward. We can bring a player on Zoom call, for instance, with multiple fans in place of meet and greets which is done on the ground," added Menon.

Parth Jindal, chairman of the Delhi Capitals IPL team, said there has been a drop in value in sponsorship for the franchisees predominantly because now there is no more ‘meet and greet’ with players; there are no free tickets in stadiums as matches will be played in empty ones. The IPL franchise is renegotiating those, anywhere between 15-20%. Delhi Capitals has replaced their principal sponsor after air conditioner maker Daikin pulled out. The JSW Group, where Jindal oversees the paints and cement business and a part of the steel operations, is the new principal sponsor.

“JSW got a slight discount over what Daikin was paying because of no ticket sales, no meet and greet. But we’ll be showcasing our steel, cement and paints brands during IPL and we will be advertising also on Star and Hotstar," Jindal said.

With covid-19 restrictions in place, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) moved the tournament to the United Arab Emirates. The matches will still be played to empty stands, because of which a significant revenue stream—gate receipts—won’t be part of the income pool for franchise owners this year.

The upside is the larger viewership the IPL is likely to garner which continues to get brand interest even at the last minute with Kolkata Knight Riders recently signing up Mobile Premier League as principal sponsor and Rajasthan Royals signing sanitary pad brand, Niine, to break stereotypes around menstrual health by placing the brand logo on players’ jerseys.

“IPL is a fantastic commodity, which is loved and watched by millions around the world. Through this partnership look to be the drivers of change both on and off the field during the IPL, sending out a resounding message of change on the biggest of stages," said Rajasthan Royals’ executive chairman, Ranjit Barthakur.

Rajasthan Royals recently brought Expo 2020 Dubai UAE as the title sponsor along with Kei Wires & Cables, Inox and Jio. Its official partner includes Eternal Hospital (Jaipur), Deakin University, Dream11, Kingfisher and virtual reality platform iB Cricket.

“Owing to unprecedented times that covid-19 has brought, brands are facing challenges and, hence, franchise might consider renegotiation. However, IPL viewership is expected to be high, given that it would be the first live sports event after a long hiatus," said Tuhin Mishra, managing director of sports management firm Baseline Ventures.

Tanya Thomas contributed to this story.

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