If the Indian T20 League were a listed company, many stakeholders would have lost their shirts following the spot fixing scandal that came to light on Thursday.
Everyone connected with Indian cricket will suffer, but top players — such as MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh and Virat Kohli, among others — will suffer the most visible collateral damage. Already, leading brand experts are predicting a 15-20% fall in their endorsement rates following the scam.
“Controversies are not good. The brand equity of the league and players will go for a toss,” said Santosh Sood, former COO, Rediffusion Y&R, an ad firm. “It may erode the brand value of players by almost 15-20%.”
Sachin Tendulkar is the only exception — advertisers were unanimous that his brand equity will remain intact and his endorsement fee of R1.5 crore per day will not see any decline.
“Advertisers will exercise caution in extending or renewing deals with cricketers until the clouds clear. It means money may fly off to competitors, especially to Bollywood actors and actresses,” said Prahlad Kakkar, advertisement and brand expert.
Cricketers and film stars are the leading brand endorsers in India.
The fallout of the scam will spread far and wide. Almost every advertising expert HT spoke to said the impact of the scam would be felt next year, during Indian T20 League-7.
But this year’s tournament will not go unscathed. According to media buyers, agents who liaise between advertisers and broadcasters, in this case SET Max, there was a plan to increase ad rates for the last four matches.
“The channel was planning to push ad rates to R12-15 lakh per 10 seconds (from Rs 5 lakh per 10 second now). This looks impossible,” said Navin Khemka, a media buyer at ZenithOptimedia, a leading media buyer.
However, SET Max’s marketing head Rohit Gupta said: “A few bad apples cannot impact the brand equity of the event. We don’t expect it (the scam) to have any impact on our revenues or ad rates.”
The Board of Control for Cricket in India also defended the tournament. “I do not agree that Indian T20 League has become untenable. We have an anti-corruption code, an anti-doping code. We have advised state units to take steps,” said BCCI president N Srinivasan.