NEW DELHI: Despite its popularity among fans, advertiser and sponsorship interests in the Indian Premier League (IPL), expected to be held in the UAE between September and November, would be sombre compared with last year. The advertiser response to the prized cricket tournament too would depend on the covid-19 situation in India, said top media buyers.
“IPL 2020 will not be a patch on the Twenty20 league of last year," said Meenakshi Menon, founder of media audit and advisory firm Spatial Access. “Timing wise, I do not see the consumer demand in the market reviving," she added, putting a question mark on the brands’ proclivity to advertise.
Sports and media industry experts estimate a 10-20% drop in advertising, on ground as well as in team sponsorship spends from last year as advertisers have seen their businesses shrink during the covid-induced lockdown and are grappling with poor cash flows.
The official broadcaster Star India is unlikely to cross last year’s revenue of over ₹2,000 crore with big brand categories such as automobile, apparel, cab hailing apps, banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) and food & beverage companies shying away from expensive television advertisements. “You have to spend at least ₹30 crore on IPL just to achieve that minimum threshold presence. How many advertisers will like to spend that kind of money at this time," asks Menon. She added that since it’s a close-door event, the excitement on ground will be missing.
Yet others say that online firms across categories such as e-commerce, edtech, video on demand services and online gaming may drive IPL advertising which is expected to touch anywhere ₹1,500 to ₹1,700 crore.
"It's not going to be easy for stakeholders. Having said that, IPL is an avenue for the market to bounce back. It's a big event which garners eyeballs which can create a certain pull for marketers," said Jai Lala, chief operating officer, Zenith India, a media agency.
Given that it's also being held during the festive season, Lala added, brands willing to push their marketing efforts might end up advertising during the tournament. "The dip in advertising volumes is not an area of concern but the main challenge would be to get 30 to 50 advertisers on board," he said.
Star's online video streaming platform Hotstar is expected to do well as the network will sell bundled ad deals to brands which can shore up upto ₹400 crore worth in ad spends.
However, the event being hosted in UAE along with limitation brought by social distancing norms would impact on ground activations which is expected to fetch ₹300 crore revenue. The team sponsorship revenue could range between ₹400 and ₹500 crore.
"Team sponsorship won't be deeply impacted especially for big teams such as Mumbai Indians or Kolkata Knight Riders. However, franchisees might end up giving more assets to brands for the money they are paying," said an independent sports marketing executive on the condition of anonymity.
(Shuchi Bansal contributed to this story)