IPL 2020: New pitch, different rules but it’s game on for brands

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on September 18, 2020 Published on September 18, 2020

On a high Many feel that the IPL could be a sentiment booster   -  THE HINDU

Record viewership expected; despite stiff ad rates, 95% inventory sold

After roller-coaster rounds of uncertainty and promise, broadcasters, brands, businesses and even punters are all padded up for IPL 2020, which kicks off in Abu Dhabi at 7.-30 pm IST on Saturday.

Despite a new pitch and a different ball game due to Covid-19 protocols, expectations are that the 13th edition will beat all viewership records. IPL 2019 was watched by a whopping 462 million viewers, according to BARC data, with official broadcaster Star Sports improving its reach by 12 per cent compared to 2018.


This year, Star, which is beaming the tournament live in multiple languages and over 20 channels, hopes to improve on that performance.

On the revenue front, too, Star is on a song, with five co-presenting sponsors including Dream11, PhonePe, Amazon, Vodafone Idea and Byju's, and 13 associate sponsors lined up.

Higher ad rates

According to Star Sports, nearly 95 per cent of the inventory has been sold. Media planning sources say the ad rates are fairly pricey at ₹12-12.5 lakh per 10 seconds. Over 60 advertisers are already on board and last-minute buys at higher premiums are being negotiated. E-commerce, telecom, FMCG, fantasy sports, edutech, BFSI and auto are the key spenders on the T20 tournament.

Star is also increasing the programming content around the IPL, by packing in analysis and other shows.

Meanwhile, Disney Hotstar is upping the fan engagement with new features to its ‘Watch n Play’ feed. The live feed on the OTT platform will only be accessible to those who take an annual subscription package.

Teams on edge

While Star sees a glittering IPL, for franchisees things are a bit more challenging. The sponsorship payout to them from the BCCI will be lower as the rates have come down and there will be no gate collections. In previous IPLs, teams like Mumbai Indians and CSK earned as much as ₹20 crore on ticket sales.

However, some teams — especially KKR, CSK and MI — are on a strong wicket. According to sources, KKR has sold all its sponsorship positions at high rates. Mumbai Indians and CSK, too, have signed pacts with a bevy of sponsors and official partners.

This year, most teams are paying more attention to merchandise sales and have entered into new associations for these. Many feel that the IPL could be a sentiment booster. Coinciding with the festival season, a period that contributes nearly 40-45 per cent to annual ad spends by brands, the advertising fraternity is hoping it will change the cycle.

As Ashish Bhasin, CEO, APAC and Chairman, India - Dentsu Aegis Network, says: “IPL has the potential to kickstart the virtuous cycle where improvement in consumer sentiment could lead to an uptick in demand, which can in turn improve ad spends.”

(with inputs from G Balachandar in Chennai and Abhishek Law in Kolkata)

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Published on September 18, 2020
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