Home advantage: IPL Season 3 is a sell out

By Sangeeta Tanwar , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | December 29, 2009
With three months to go for the tournament, the official broadcaster, MSM, has sold about 85 per cent of the advertising inventory for IPL

IPL (Indian Premier League) Season 3 has proved to be a sell-out, with the official broadcaster of the sporting event already having sold 85 per cent of its advertising inventory.

With nearly three months to go for IPL 3, SET Max has got on board two co-presenting sponsors and eight associate sponsors for the Twenty20 tournament. Vodafone and Videocon are the two co-presenting sponsors and others including Pepsi, LG, Hyundai, Samsung, HUL, Godrej and TATA Photon have been roped in as associate sponsors.

Speaking to afaqs!, Rohit Gupta, president, network sales, licensing and telephony, MSM, says, "The critical season three of IPL is back in India as a six week sporting extravaganza. With the tournament moving back to the country from South Africa, we started sales in July-August. This time, marketers have enough time on hand to create and plan extensive creative or marketing communication related to the brands."

For IPL 3, SET Max is commanding a premium of 20 per cent over last year's edition. The broadcaster is commanding Rs 5 lakh for a 10 second ad spot for the matches. Last year, the average cost of a 10-second ad spot on SET Max was about Rs 3.75 lakh. Besides the co-presenting sponsors and associate sponsors, the 10 second ad spots have been filled up by brands such as Aircel, Spice Mobile, TVS, Virgin Mobile and Coca-Cola, amongst others.

Commenting on the buzz and expectations around IPL 3, Nandini Dias, chief operating officer, Lodestar Universal, says, "The tournament being played in India stands to generate a different kind of excitement and enthusiasm - as was proved by the popularity and success of the first edition of IPL. In fact, there is always higher curiosity and far more interest in a domestic cricket series in comparison to cricketing spectacles scheduled outside the country."

Also, factors such as the involvement and presence of Bollywood stars, interest in the lives of the franchise owners (since most of them are celebrities in their own rights), merchandising and cheerleaders further make the event far more appealing when played at home.

In addition to selling the inventory for T20 matches, the broadcaster has also finalised brand associations for its show, Extraa Innings. The brands that have aligned with the show include advertisers such as Whirlpool, Park Avenue and Raymonds.

It is learnt that IPL 3 has on offer 2,100 to 2,200 secondages of advertising. Out of this, around 1500 secondages will go to sponsors and another 500 secondages will be consumed by advertisers who have opted for spot buys (10 second ad-spots). The rest of the advertising inventory has been held back by SET Max, to be sold at a premium of about 10 per cent when the tournament is at its peak.

Basabdutta Chowdhury, chief executive officer, Platinum Media, shares, "Coming back to India, IPL 3 is poised to be a bigger sporting spectacle on account of the enthusiasm created by ground events and the consumer connect, which was missing in previous year's edition. This time, fan based club activities will be renewed and this, coupled with the Bollywood connect, will result in IPL 3 turning out to be more enjoyable and bigger."

Another senior media planner says that the sponsorship tag for IPL 3 endows on brands value add-ons and leads to blocking of a category, whereby the competing brand can only get as much limited exposure.

Bringing out the value and the benefits of the tournament being held in the country, especially for advertisers, Gupta explains, "Last year, IPL teams could not leverage their on-ground associations simply because the game shifted to South Africa. However, this time, with teams set to play in front of the home crowd, each team has got at least three-four on-ground sponsors. The total number of on-ground associations could be anything between 40 and 45, which translates into a lot of activities for the teams and the brands involved."

He is confident that by mid January, a marketing blitzkrieg will hit the media, involving different stakeholders including team franchisees, BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India), sponsors and promotional campaigns by the broadcaster.

Dias of Lodestar Universal adds that IPL 2 did not come as a surprise. Brands were well prepared for the tournament last year, with hosts of contests, dealer meets and meet and greet sessions. It was the sudden decision to shift the tournament to South Africa that was a surprise. This year, too, marketers will have their back-end in place, with detailed brand initiatives. It will be interesting to see the new teams and their compositions in the third season of IPL.

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