After getting mired in controversies, the Indian Premier League (IPL) seems to be on a strong wicket, at least as far as lead sponsorship is concerned.
Almost a week after India’s largest real estate major DLF exited the league, ending a five-year old relationship, companies including Hero, Vodafone, Volkswagen, Citibank, Karbonn have shown interest in bidding for IPL’s title sponsorship, according to the media buyers.
“All are on board and a lot many companies are interested in grabbing the position,” Rajiv Shukla, former vice-president, BCCI (Board of Control for cricket in India) and current chairman of IPL, told HT. “We are expecting a huge increase in the price of the title sponsorship. The bidding will be exciting and probably we will be out with names by the end of the year.”
“I don’t see a problem for title for IPL. I am sure there will be many sponsors. But as per original business plan IPL needs Rs. 100 crore a year,” Lalit Modi, founder of IPL tweeted last week.
According to a BCCI insider, they are expecting over Rs. 500-700 crore against the deal amount of Rs. 200 crore in 2008.
Some sources say Sahara and India Cements are also interested in the title sponsorship but this is questionable as they also happen to be associated with specific teams in the IPL. A conflict of interest may arise on the issue.
Advertisers, meanwhile, expect the BCCI to consider declining TV viewership ratings while fixing the deal amount. “The minimum bid price will decide the strength of commitments,” said Navin Khemka, media buyer at ZenithOptimedia, the agency that handles Karbonn’s account. “Companies may not pay over Rs. 75-80 crore per year (Rs. 400 crore for 5 years) as the tournament is only played for six weeks of the year.” “We are happy being associated with the IPL,” said Kapil Arora, country head for the Vodafone account at Ogilvy and Mather Advertising. “But obviously, we will ensure the financial sensibility of the deal before taking the final call.”