The numbers sounded so unbelievable that for a while it seemed like Lalit Modi was pulling a fast one on the Indian cricket market.
But the sponsors are queuing up at the gates of the Indian Premier League, and projections are turning into fat cheques. The IPL central revenues were hovering on the 500-crore mark and still the dust hasn’t settled.
The latest to come on board are Kingfisher Airlines, who have paid 106 crore to become official umpire partners for the tournament.
This deal gives Kingfisher Airlines branding on the clothing that match officials wear, and crucially on giant screens when the third umpire’s decision is pending.
DLF was the first to come on board, as title sponsor, and they pay out 200 crore over five years. Hero Honda then came on as one of potentially six associate sponsors at 90 crore. The cola wars fuelled the next bonanza as PepsiCo forked out 50 crore to become official beverage partners of the tournament.
What’s interesting is that Kingfisher, part of the UB Group, own the Bangalore Royal Challengers franchise, but this did not stop them from becoming associate sponsors of the Delhi Daredevils.
“Kingfisher’s decision bears testimony to the fact that the DLF Indian Premier League is here to stay and is set to carve out a distinct niche for itself in the international cricket calendar,” said Modi soon after the signing.
What’s more, at least two others, a major oil company and a designer jewellery line are on the verge to signing on the dotted line as associate sponsors.
What these deals do is lessen the financial burden on individual franchisees each of whom receive 80% of central revenues for the first five years. A number-cruncher closely monitoring IPL finances believed that each franchise would end up getting close to Rs 28 crore annually for the first five years, from these central revenues.
In addition to this franchisees have 100% rights over local revenues, which include gate receipts, team shirt sponsorships, merchandising, local sponsorship and licensing, hospitality and match day promotions.