The sixth edition of Indian Premier League is already off to a glitzy and glamorous start, but for some teams, the hunt for sponsors is still on.
Franchises including Sunrisers Hyderabad, Royal Challengers and Rajasthan Royals are offering last-minute deals for logo space on jerseys, trousers, sleeves and helmets at competitive prices, in some cases at almost 30% less than original rates. “It will close in next few days as we are trying to sell the remaining slots are best prices,” said an official from Sunrisers Hyderabad on condition of anonymity.
For instance, not many brand names were displayed on uniforms and helmets worne by players of Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) during the match against Mumbai Indians. Most jerseys — mainly the front and one sleeve — and helmet showed in-house brands such as McDowells, White Mischief and Kingfisher. Most jerseys' backs were not sporting any brand.
“Many teams were approaching companies for last-minute sales,” said Mona Jain, chief executive officer, Vivaki Exchange, a media investment unit for Starcom MediaVest Group, ZenithOptimedia India and Solutions Digitas.
For logos, on helmets and jerseys’ sleeves, companies generally spend around Rs. 1-5 crore. For logos on trousers and t-shirts, the cost escalates up to Rs. 8 crore. Though teams managed to sell such small displays like hot cakes during the first three seasons of the Indian Premier League, this year, the response was muted. “By now, it is all tried and tested,” said Navin Khemka, partner, ZenithOptimedia, a media buying house. “Advertisers have not received right returns on investments. So they are not running behind such minute ad-space.”
Emails and texts to teams such as Sunrisers Hyderabad, Royal Challengers, Mumbai Indians did not elicit any response. Pune Warriors and Rajasthan Royals said they were fully sold out and had closed sponsorship counters.
“This season we have so far partnered with 16 brands and have closed our entire inventory on the team uniform,” said Raghu Iyer, chief executive officer, Rajasthan Royals.