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Star has extended pre-match shows to 90 minutes, allowing brands to buy cheap ad slots.
Star has extended pre-match shows to 90 minutes, allowing brands to buy cheap ad slots.

IPL set to kick-start consumption cycle

  • For broadcasters, the pent-up demand for live sports could translate into high viewership, with matches starting at a convenient 7.30pm
  • Brands are piggybacking on advertising, hoping it will kick-start the consumer spending and consumption cycle that has ground to a halt because of covid

It’s not just cricketers that are limbering up for the Indian Premier League (IPL) this year—multiple businesses are eyeing a turnaround on the back of the Twenty20 cricket tournament that is set to begin on 19 September in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Brands are piggybacking on advertising, hoping it will kick-start the consumer spending and consumption cycle that has ground to a halt because of covid.

“IPL is a huge and unifying property as it brings cricket and entertainment together, catering to a variety of demographics. It has the potential of uplifting the mood of the consumers, owing to its scale and reach," said Ashish Bhasin, CEO-APAC and chairman-India at Dentsu Aegis Network.

All in the game
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All in the game

“Moreover, it would be the first time when the tournament will coincide with the festive season, which is expected to further lift consumer sentiment. IPL does have the potential to catalyze consumer sentiment and consumption."

For broadcasters, the pent-up demand for live sports could translate into high viewership, with matches starting at a convenient 7.30pm. The official broadcaster Star Sports and its streaming platform Disney+ Hotstar—the only channels showing the matches—are confident of beating the 2019 viewership record of 424 million.

Gautam Thakar, chief executive of Star Sports, said Dream11 IPL is not just a comeback of India’s most eagerly awaited sporting event but also a symbol of hope returning to the lives of people. “The anticipation for IPL is like never before, given that fans have missed watching their favourite players in action for a long time. This, combined with the early start of matches at 7.30pm, home-bound viewers and fewer doubleheaders, we are confident IPL 2020 will by far be the biggest IPL ever," he added.

IPL is the biggest cricket property for Star India and has fetched more than 2,000 crore in ad revenue in 2019. It is hoping to cross this revenue figure this year, despite the covid-19 disruption.

Star’s asking price for the live match inventory is 12 lakh for a 10-second slot. As of March, the network had signed 12 sponsors and 80 advertisers from categories as diverse as consumer durables, e-commerce, digital payment, food delivery apps, online education and mobile gaming platforms. Star has also extended its pre-match shows from 60 to 90 minutes, allowing brands to buy cheaper ad slots.

Analysts expect quick service restaurants (QSR) to be the biggest beneficiaries, followed by soft beverages and liquor firms.

“The timing (of IPL matches) is such that we will see very high viewership as these will be the first India-specific games. Globally, where other sports are happening, the viewership is high," said Abneesh Roy, executive vice-president (research), Edelweiss Securities.

This, he said, will also benefit organized large QSR chains—especially those selling burgers and pizzas—as IPL viewers glued to their television sets place orders.

“We have seen a spike in digital/online ordering in the last few months and are confident it will continue. Consumers are looking forward to the cricketing season to battle pandemic or lockdown blues. We will add to the excitement with relevant and exciting offerings," said Moksh Chopra, chief marketing officer at KFC India.

It remains to be seen whether state governments will allow bars to open.

The increased viewership will also translate into revenue opportunities for television news channels. “There will be a spike as brands using IPL as their communication peg amplify the messaging on surround platforms, and news is an integral part of their plans," said Vikas Khanchandani, CEO, Republic TV, a news channel.

Lata Jha contributed to the story.

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